Gerry Schum

(b. 1938, Cologne – d. 1973, Düsseldorf)

Gerry Schum was a German cinematographer, filmmaker, video producer, and in 1969 he initiated and produced Fernsehgalerie [Television Gallery] that was broadcast on German television. During his time at the Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin (1966-67) he realized for the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (West German Broadcasting), documentaries such as the 6th Art Biennial of the Republic Of San Marino and Konsumkunst-Kunstkonsum. Schum used television as a medium to bypass traditional art institutions and to open up a new platform for presentation, perception and the discussion of art. Notable marking points of this revolutionary shift in artistic practice were the specific works he created for and in television. For the first exhibition of his Fernsehgalerie Schum screened the films of eight artists without any comment. Schum is known as a pioneer of introducing video and television as direct artistic media as opposed to simply using them for documentation or reportage.

Identifications, TV Exhibition II (1970), presented works by leading artists of the 1960s. The recordings were made in accordance with the artists’ instructions. According to Schum, the title of the series should be taken literally. It underlines the unity between artist and work.

“We no longer perceive the work of art as a painting or sculpture not connected with the artist. On television, the artist can reduce his work to an attitude, a simple gesture, referring to his concept. The work of art is conveyed as a unity of concept, visualization, and the artist who provides the idea.” Gerry Schum (1969)