‘Video Sketches’ by early video artist Clive Richardson is a series of works presenting investigations into illusionistic conventions of the TV monitor, in which the scale of the video image and the scale of the original subject were an important and crucial aspect. Richardson went on to produce a number of music videos for new-wave bands such as Depeche Mode, Siouxie & the Banshees and Tears for Fears. These recovered sketches represent important early examples of artistic experimentation with video and its capabilities.
The early tapes of Clive Richardson, executed in 1972 when still a student at the Royal College of Art,
were remarkably succinct as early examples of the manipulation and reorientation of perceptual assumptions. It might be argued that these tapes (now known collectively as Sketches) would have been equally valid as film works, since they constituted primary investigations into the illusion convention peculiar to both. However, his juxtapositions of relative image size and its ‘real’ counterpart (ie rabbit was more or less rabbit size, balloon
was balloon size, head was head size and so on, on the small screen) were a requirement integral to
the function of most of the better pieces. The image of a rabbit is seen life-size behaving as a real rabbit does; and then very slowly, almost imperceptibly, the camera zooms out, revealing that the image of the rabbit is
the image of another image of a rabbit on the image of another monitor on the real monitor. As the
process progresses the size of the rabbit is kept constant (life-size and still chewing its lettuce
leaf) by simultaneously zooming in on the rabbit on the original recording. The process is reversed
and the piece ends. in another work Richardson faces out from the monitor (framed approximately
life-size) whilst inflating a balloon. As the balloon grows the camera zooms out keeping it a
constant size, Richardson’s head diminishes in size and” then ‘re-inflates’ as the balloon
collapses. These are classics of their time.