© Peter NEWMAN

Free At Last

ArtistPeter NEWMAN
Material/ Techniquevideo
Size/ Duration7 min.
Copyright Notice© Peter NEWMAN
Year of acquisition/ donation2000
DescriptionBorn in London, UK in 1969. Lives and works there.

Peter Newman works in sculpture, video, photography, painting and other wide-ranging media. Newman’s works include long, horizontal photos of smoke trails from airplanes, and video installations showing footage of a surfer who lost his life trying to ride a legendary colossal wave. Newman employs natural phenomena such as light, water and sky together with elements of modern civilization such as airplanes and rockets. Giving play to our psychological perceptions of such things, he explores an unknown territory transcending space and time, while closely examining human existence in the physical world.

This is a seven-minute video work of a man skydiving. Leaping into space and giving himself to gravity, the diver freefalls at high speed and, in these extreme circumstances, adopts a yoga pose. Skydiving is an act of opening one’s senses to the outer world in a state of excitement, while yoga meditation is a spiritual act of looking inward. Both share in common a desire for insight into the nature of human existence in the world. Then, since the cameraman is also falling as he films, our sense of up/down/right/left becomes confused, and it comes to look like a video of a man floating suspended in space. Despite its dramatic scenic development, the video is soundless, and this soundlessness dilutes the reality of the events appearing before us, so that we are drawn into a world in which the preconceptions up/down / right/left do not exist. The title of this work, “Free At Last,” symbolically implies the video’s final scene, where the diver disappears in the blue sky, as if flying into the unknown.