Past Film/Video | Contemporary Screen | The Box

Suzanne Silver

Vanishing Acts (2022)

Music by Sivan Silver-Swartz

Artist Residency

The words “I was here but disappear” written twice against a grainy, scratched background of brown shades.

Ohio-based artist Suzanne Silver’s poetic video and ephemeral installation transforms The Box into a site that explores light and shadow—both onscreen and with objects in space.

Part of an ongoing video project, Silver’s Vanishing Acts—supported by the center’s Film/Video Studio—began in March 2020 as a kind of visual diary during the peak of pandemic isolation. In a daily ritual, the artist followed the light of the sun as it moved through the rooms of her home, capturing what she calls “ephemeral, fugitive snapshots” with a cell phone camera. Using the same basic materials and techniques that are found in her paintings and drawings—painted vinyl, punctured metal, and stencil letters—Silver created images of light and shadow that are both intimate and short lived.

Woven through Vanishing Acts are themes of impermanence, loss, memory, fragility, and resistance. Words and letters appear and disappear, such as the sorrowful phrases “I was here but disappear” and “For a long time I used to dream.” Just as often, the words and letters are treated more playfully in palindromes, anagrams, and puns, like puzzles to be solved. Rendered in light that passes through punctured aluminum, china marker on clear vinyl, and other materials, they become fleeting shadows that constantly shift in and out of legibility.

Echoing the transient nature of the images onscreen, an arrangement of objects—similar to those seen in the video—is mounted in The Box and illuminated by a light that casts shadows. The installation also includes original music by LA-based composer Sivan Silver-Swartz featuring percussion by Ben Rempel and winds by Adam Hirsch. The score runs unsynchronized alongside the video, building its own evolving relationship with the images onscreen and the shadows, light, and objects in space.

Suzanne Silver
Vanishing Acts (2022)
Looped video, sound, light, painted vinyl, metal, and string
Dimensions variable

Music by Sivan Silver-Swartz
Adam Hirsch, winds
Ben Rempel, percussion

The words “I was here but disappear” written twice against a grainy, scratched background of brown shades.

Vanishing Acts, image courtesy of the artist. 

A blue, moth-like sculpture on a cream-colored surface covered in shadows

Vanishing Acts, image courtesy of the artist. 

Silhouette of a hand with fingers spread; it is against a foggy, gray background. The surface is covered in black scratches.

Vanishing Acts, image courtesy of the artist. 

Grainy, scratched surface of gray and purple shades. It is covered in shadows of unknown objects.

Vanishing Acts, image courtesy of the artist. 

More about the artists

Suzanne Silver chevron-down chevron-up

Suzanne Silver is an associate professor in the Department of Art’s Painting and Drawing program at The Ohio State University. Learn more about Suzanne Silver on the Department of Art’s website.

Sivan Silver-Swartz chevron-down chevron-up

Sivan Silver-Swartz makes experimental music through notated composition, installation, and performance. Harmony, tuning, counterpoint, and cyclical patterns are all things he often thinks about when making music. He studied under Michael Pisaro-Liu and Wolfgang von Schweinitz and received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2019. He was raised in Columbus and lives in Los Angeles. Learn more about Sivan Silver-Swartz on his website.

Vanishing Acts was made with the support of a residency in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio.

Cardinal Health

Rohauer Collection Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts

Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Wexner Family
National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
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Past Film/Video

Suzanne Silver