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Partially Buried Compilation

At the epicenter of Green’s extensive multimedia installation Partially Buried in Three Parts (1996-1997), Partially Buried (1996) and Partially Buried Continued (1997) explore a web of genealogical traces, initiated by a reflection upon the work Partially Buried Woodshed by the artist Robert Smithson which was primarily known as a photograph and believed to no longer physically exist; both films provide an overlapping exploration of ways in which we attempt to reinterpret the past as well as our contemporary relations: How are the “returns of what is repressed” mediated, and how do they erupt?

Questions of genealogy are also explored with the juxtaposition of artistic forbears, among them Smithson and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and blood relations. The complexities of how we find ourselves entangled in relationships to countries, nationalities, and people, to locations and to time, and to the ensuing identifications – these aspects continue to be questioned in both films.

It is apparent that one of Green’s lasting contributions will be to have challenged the finitude of the cinematic and/or video medium by producing works that are at once complete and incomplete. They can and do stand on their own, and are fit to be watched separately, but they function even more efficiently in dialogue between themselves. For it is in this dialogical relationship that the images of these works are constantly transformed, reactivated, and reanimated. The flow of Green’s video tapes never runs dry."

– Nora M. Alter. "Between the Frame: Renée Green’s Video Practice.” In: Renée Green: Shadows and Signals. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2000.

# Title Artists Run Time Year Country
1 Partially Buried Renée Green 00:20:00 1996 United States
2 Partially Buried Continued Renée Green 00:36:00 1997 United States

Partially Buried

Renée Green
1996 | 00:20:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 |


Partially Buried explores a web of genealogical traces. In this work the artist probes the notion of sites of memory as well as site-specific work by focusing on the location of Kent, Ohio. Partially Buried references the year 1970 during which the artist Robert Smithson produced his site-specific work, Partially Buried Woodshed at Kent State University. By chance the mother of the child in the video was present also in Kent State in May of that year, studying experimental music. In May of 1970, four students were shot while attending a rally protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. “May 4, 1970” was painted on the Partially Buried Woodshed shortly afterward and the artwork took on another meaning.

After having lived and worked away from the country in which she was born for many years, Green asks in her film the questions: “How does one return? To a country, to a place of birth? To a location which reeks of remembered sensations? Is it possible to trace how they are triggered and why they are accompanied with as much dread as anticipation?”

She also focuses on a time during which she was a child: 1970, in particular, and more generally the 1970s, as perceived from the vantage point of 1996. How do we reinterpret the past? What do we choose to remember or discard? What is inescapable?


Partially Buried Continued

Renée Green
1997 | 00:36:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video


Partially Buried Continued is a meditation on ways in which one’s associations to history, location, and genealogy become tangled in a subjective web which makes it complicated to separate history from fiction. The ways in which photography and memories can become intertwined and the differences between memory as an active process and remembrance as a memorializing act are explored through the persona of the filmmaker, who moves between Korea, Berlin, Ohio, the 1950s, the 1970s, and the 1990s, while attempting to negotiate her present with that which preceded her.

“She invokes two dead artists and ponders the traces of their lives in the continued wake of their deaths. Indices. Inscriptions. Quotes. Birth parents, blood relations, artistic forebears. The usual artist’s roster tugs at her.”

Expanding on Green’s 1996 film Partially Buried, Partially Buried Continued focuses on the mingling of the present and the past, what is near and what is far, what is other and what is one’s self through reflecting on the photographic medium via a re-examination of images taken during the Korean War by the film character’s father, which she viewed as a child; photographs taken in Korea in Kwangju on May 18th, 1980, and photographs taken by the artist in Kwangju and Seoul in 1997. Works by the artists Robert Smithson and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha are also a recurring reference point in the film, as is the year 1970. Both artists worked with language, location and time.

The complexities of how we find ourselves entangled in relationships to countries and nationalities, to locations and to time, and to ensuing identifications continue to be questioned in Partially Buried Continued.