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Tina Keane
Although Tina Keane's works have never appeared with the fanfare which has accompanied some British artists' productions, they have steadily established their qualities.

Faded Wallpaper in particular, a work of 1988, can now be seen, I believe, as one of the outstanding achievements of video art in this country. It seems to be poised precisely at a watershed between traditional forms of representation and new electronic media.

There are allusions to painting in the working and reworking of a surface, yet this surface is continually decomposing and re-composing itself in a kind of electronic collage, fully exploiting the possibilities of mixing and layering, and the Chroma-key, which were new in the late 1980s. Near the beginning an upside-down fleshy face in black and white pushes against the inside surface of a glass box, intruding into the main sequence of hybrid, patched-together colour figments of face, body and wallpaper, which construct a sort of ever-changing mask. Faded Wallpaper achieves its effects, not through narrative, but through an intensification of the idea. Intensification of the visuals is powerfully matched by intensification of the sound, achieving a rare optical/aural density. "I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of conclusion", "Which is more real, thoughts or things: a false dichotomy", ruminates a female voice (Natasha Morgan's) in a challenging soliloquy drawn from writing by Marion Milner and Charlotte Perkins Gilmour. The reading voice enters against a whirl of insistent but hard-to-decipher sounds: chatter, cries, whispers and wails.

The whole piece is perhaps a metaphor of the mind, as outer perception is mingled with inner dream in the image of wallpaper, the domestic skin whose layers can alternately be plastered on and stripped away. Wallpaper, pattern, layer, face, mask, enclosing walls, languages of freedom: all the elements collide and separate, materialise and dissolve in a compelling vision of the anxieties and possibilities of self-definition.

Still from Faded Wallpaper by Tina Keane, 1988
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