A rough-cut of selected scenes, edited as a sampler to be used in fundraising towards completion of the film "Undesirables". “The idea started with a casual comment made by Stan Brakhage, must have been way back in the early 1970s. It stuck in my mind. Now that I think about it, Brakhage may have meant this as a joke. He said, “Someday Hollywood will probably make a film about us,” – ‘us’ meaning the experimental filmmakers – “and I wonder which actors will play us?” Think about that first of all: the idea that Hollywood would make a film about experimental filmmakers is totally ridiculous. The fact that one would think about which actor was going to play me at some time in the future, I think that’s very funny. Eventually it germinated in my mind and I thought it was an interesting idea… A film about experimental filmmakers, especially in the very formative period, approximately 1968 to 1972. The movement went from a high point where there was a lot of publicity generated in the media, and seemed to peter out shortly after that. At a certain time, I guess it was in the 1980s, there was some discussion in film circles about the decline of the experimental film and people were theorising about why it happened and some people suggested maybe because of video, and I guess there were other theories too. So I thought, “Why not come up with a fantastic theory about why that happened?” – a fictional theory – and put that into a film?” (Owen Land, interviewed by Mark Webber, 2004)
Owen Land was born in Connecticut, USA in 1944. His films in the 1960s and 1970s, are some of the first examples of the so-called "structural film" movement. Retrospectives of Land’s films have been held at the Edinburgh Film Festival, The Tate Gallery in London, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
HANNAH SAWTELL Rent (A youth of waste, a life of mess), 2009 projected video, 6 Mins
Hannah Sawtell's work proposes an engagement with means of production and the way form and image is disseminated. Works are sometimes deployed as 'Swiftian' observations, but often feel like odes to the forced bittersweet evolution of use value. Sawtell teases out the vacillating beauty and numb homogeneity of the current. With precision and an air of lyricism her work generates relationships between objects, creating balanced but contradictory dialectical encounters. In "Rent (A youth of waste, a life of mess)" a soundtrack of digitally edited civic sounds accompanies a series of images pulled from internet product promotions and screensaver palettes. Between each image is a generic animated transition, as those commonly seen on computer slideshow presentations. Into this cycle Sawtell introduces methods of interruption so that the cyclical nature of the excess of production, taste and choice is sliced, chipped and parted. A new sculptural work by the artist will also be shown alongside the film.
Hannah Sawtell graduated from Chelsea College of Art, London in 2006. She is currently completing an MA at the Royal Academy, London. Forthcoming exhibitions include the International Project Space, Bournville (2009).
WEEK 2 FELIX GMELIN & AMALIA PICA: 14 - 19 JULY OPENING TUESDAY 14 JULY, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
FELIX GMELIN Farbtest, Die Rote Fahne II, 2002 Two channel video, 12 minutes Sound and Vision, 2006
Two channel video installation, dimensions variable Felix Gmelin’s “Farbtest, Die Rote Fahne II”, presents two short tapes on monitors side-by-side that are, at a glance, identical. Closer examination reveals that in fact the images are not quite the same, but very similar. In each one, a runner carries a large red flag through the streets of what appears to be a northern European city, transferring the flag to another participant at various intervals. The sense of historical period is also rather vague: the runners wear similar dark clothes; their hairstyles are not particularly revelatory, either. Perhaps the large number of Volkswagens in the video on the left tips the viewer off that this one was originally filmed in Germany. In fact one monitor shows a ready made film from 1968 of a relay of students (including Gmelin’s father) carrying a red flag to the Berlin city hall where they hang it from the balcony; the second film, a remake from 2002, shows Gmelin’s students passing a red flag through the streets of Stockholm to the city hall, but this time they don’t reach the balcony. Sound and Vision was commissioned for the 4th Berlin Biennial, 'Of Mice and Men'. The point of departure is a Swedish sex education film from 1970 in which a school class of blind children, urged on by an older female teacher, physically and objectively examines the sexual organs of a pair of healthy youngsters by squeezing them. This is projected in the gallery while in a second film, shot in the early 1980s and displayed on a small monitor, Gmelin is given a lesson on liberating the senses by his father. "In his project for the fourth berlin biennial, Felix Gmelin again returns to the social and political events of the late 1960s; this time in order to investigate the ambivalences and paradoxes of the ‘sexual revolution’.” (Kim West, KW Institute for ontemporary Art, Berlin).
Felix Gmelin was born in Heidelberg in 1962 and lives and works in Stockholm. Gmelin has participated twice in the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2003; in the October Salon 2006, Belgrade, and also in the Berlin Biennial 2006. He has had solo shows at institutions including Portikus, Frankfurt, Gasworks, London and Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö.
AMALIA PICA On education, 2008 16mm film transferred to DVD, 4 minutes 3 seconds
"On education" was shot while staging a public space intervention in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. This short film shows the act of painting the horse of an equestrian monument white, while fragments of the preface to ‘On education’ by J. Rousseau appear sporadically as subtitles. The soundtrack of the film is the added sound known as ‘white noise’ or ‘room tone’ (the sound of an empty space). For this exhibition, Pica will also show a new 2009 piece alongside the film.
Amalia Pica was born in Neuquén, Argentina in 1978. She has participated widely in museum group exhibitions including Hayward Gallery, London (2009), Kunsthalle Basel (2008), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2007), Liverpool Biennial (2006). Pica will have a solo exhibition at Galerie Diana Stigter later this year.
MEGAN FRASER ARKHÉ, 2007 Super 16mm transferred to DVD, colour, sound, 16 mins
"ARKHÉ" was filmed at a Medical Museum at the time of the dismantling and dispersal of its collection of human specimens and breakdown of its architectural space. Structured as a series of shots strung together with an aesthetic that echoes a minimalist arrangement, barely an order; a constellation of image presents an unfolding of surface and event. Full-frame shots of surfaces of skin submerged in a viscous liquid present suspended states of decay that echo with the sound of an exterior environment. Machines, traffic and human voice recorded in and around the museum play against the film's abstracted subject, locating it in a social sphere beyond the determined limits of the films fixed frame. As the film progresses we are witness to a museum in various states of dismantlement, the breakdown of its space, an abandoned workshop, empty cabinets and stacks of furniture. From the micro movements of floating skin particles that have broken away from the body to the spatial dismantling of the museum, what is happening in the image, or the meaning of things and actions represented permeates its formal texture and floats across the film. Made following changes to the laws that govern the collection of human tissues "ARKHÉ"produces a haunting meditation on the notion of 'a thing', and the legal, social and cultural frameworks that influence its status and our relationship to it.
Megan Fraser graduated from the MFA course at Milton Avery Graduate School Of The Arts, New York in 2008. She has participated in exhibitions and film programmes at the International Project Space, Birmingham (2009), Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2008), Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid (2008), Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2008), Koelnischer Kunstverein, Koln (2006) and The Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2005)
BABETTE MANGOLTE (NOW) or MAINTENANT ENTRE PARENTHESES, 1976 16mm film transferred to DVD, colour, silent, 10 mins
"A linear succession of activities / manipulations of objects. Film = Now / Projected Film = (Now)"
This short film is Mangolte's second film shot in the 70s when the artist moved from Paris to NY and became the photographer and cinematographer of the performance art scene in NYC. Among many others Babette Mangolte worked with dance performers Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown. Their new ideas of conceptual performance and object relations in dance informed Mangolte's own filmic aesthetic as much as the enigmatically anti-expressive styles of film director Robert Bresson and the structuralist realism of Chantal Akerman for whom she was director of photography. The style Mangolte developed in her films in the 70s is a unique fusion between New York conceptualism and the new French realist sensibility, processed through the artist's strong intellectual sense of imagination. The actors in "(Now)", Linda Patton and James Barth, were performers in Yvonne Rainer's provocative new choreography. Babette Mangolte had worked already with Linda Patton and James Barth in her first film What Maisie Knew (1975) which used elements of minimal performance for an abstract narration based on Henry James' novel.
Babette Mangolte was born and raised in France. As a cinematographer, director and photographer, she has been present in the contemporary art, film, dance, theatre and performance scene in New York since the 1970s, collaborating with figures like film director Chantal Akerman and performance artist Yvonne Rainer. Mangolte's work has been widely contextualised within the framework of institutional exhibitions and presented in numerous international film festivals and museum programs, for example at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Anthology Film Archives. Her films are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Among Babette Magolte's recent shows are "Live Art on Camera" at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton and the Berlin Biennale 2008, where she presented the film installation "Presence".