Tuesday, 25 October 2011

FAD Video: Pipilotti Rist, Eyeball Massage at Hayward Gallery

Here's a video that I made for FAD at the Pipilotti Rist, Eyeball Massage exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, when the artist and curator gave a tour to the press. Directed by me, music by the marvelous Jake Ridley.

Monday, 17 October 2011

ArtSlant Review: Gerhard Richter, Panorama at Tate Modern

(Originally published on ArtSlant)

The world is divided into those who think painting is dead, and those who continue to do it anyway. German master painter Gerhard Richter is defiantly in the latter camp, and Tate Modern’s extensive survey of his fifty-year career at the easel shows this in spades. 

From the range of painterly concerns on show in Panorama, it seems that Richer has never let up. He continues to experiment with the application of paint and to question painterly representation, moving from his distinctive blurred photograph paintings through giant bright rugged abstracts, traditional pensive still lifes and portraiture, and stark colour grids. Panorama sometimes feels like a group show from one person’s multiple painter personalities.

But this diversity doesn’t signify a lack of focus, in fact it’s how we focus that’s at question here. There’s a thread running through Richter’s work that questions representation, most famously in his meticulously rendered copies of black and white photographs with their feather-light blurring. Endlessly reproducible tabloid imagery gets fixed in oil paint, while old family photos of relatives lost to war gain extra distance and poignancy as they fade into gentle grey smudges.

ArtSlant Review: Grisaille at Luxembourg & Dayan

(Originally published on ArtSlant)

An exhibition celebrating the use of grey paint doesn’t sound like the most spectacular of prospects; the pigeon amongst the peacocks of the gallery world if you will. But NYC gallerists Luxembourg & Dayan have demonstrated how limitation can be the mother of invention with the compact but compelling Grisaille, which inaugurates their new London space in Mayfair. 

Without colour dominating the works, other ideas can come to the fore, like form, texture, surface, shape and contrast as well as the spectrum between figuration and abstraction. Curator Alison Gingeras has asserted her wish to defy Delacroix’s statement that “the enemy of all painting is grey.” Instead, she sees the reductive qualities of the grisaille palette as a launch pad into a world of formal and conceptual possibilities.

That makes things more intriguing even before we get to the list of names on show here, the likes of Gerhard Richter, the workshop of Dürer, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Rob Pruitt, and Cy Twombly.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

FAD Video: Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács at Moving Image

A video I made for FAD when I met the makers of Mastering Bambi at the Moving Image Contemporary Video Art Fair.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

FAD Video: Edward Winkleman at Moving Image

I met with Edward Winkleman, co-founder of the Moving Image Contemporary Video Art Fair, to make a video introduction to his fantastic event all the way from NYC. Originally published on FAD.

FAD Interview: Oliver Michaels at Moving Image

(Originally published on FAD)

With his work showing at Moving Image Contemporary Video Art Fair, FAD caught up with Brooklyn based artist Oliver Michaels for a quick chat about the show and the video installation he is exhibiting…

Why do you use video?
It’s the language of our times. Over the past decade film making has been liberated from it’s previous financial restraints. Advancements in consumer equipment and software has opened up an area that is really exciting to work within as it uses the same vernacular as the media encompassed society we live in today.

How do you combine video and installation?
I’m not sure where installation stops and sculpture begins but I see these pieces more as sculptures than installation. I built the structures to host the videos, to bring them off the walls so that the viewer interacts with them within the space. Each structure is stage appropriate to each video and it’s form reflects this.

What’s the background to your work showing at Moving Image?
In the Museum Postcards series I wanted to liberate these beautiful and powerful objects, to give them a rest for a while from their burden of history. I also wanted to create bastard children of the actual historical objects and pop software. I developed my understanding of the space of history from a diverse range of sources over the years; a good understanding of The Greek landscape say, was informed as much through carry on movies, hip hop videos and computer games, as it was museums, neo-classical architecture and textbooks etc. so I found this relationship to history and it’s artifacts an interesting area to work in.

Can you tell us about the specific piece you’re showing?
In ‘Lover’s’ a beautiful and authoritative black marble bust of Abraham Lincoln presents a dialogue that is a compilation of hundreds of snippets of sourced descriptive writing pasted together; a spoken word version of the juxtapositions of materials in sculpture. The piece presents three experiences of the same thing, looking at a sculpture, listening to a description of a sculpture and watching a video of one. This moves in an area that explores the discrepancies between experiences, one that is relevant to the greater theme in the work that explores the role of understanding in the phenomenological moment.

If someone liked your work how would they buy it?
Museum Postcards can be bought as an edition of the film only, this comes in a 1/4 box set that contains a Blue-ray and a flash drive with a number of different versions on it. Or the sculpture is available as a one off. Here you’d receive the sculpture  and hand drawn plans and instructions for it’s reconstruction, including a computer with the original work that plays directly from the application.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

BEV Interview: Julia Leigh for Sleeping Beauty

(Originally published on the Birds Eye View blog)

The Australian novelist’s first foray into film directing is not the Sleeping Beauty we all know and love. The story of a young woman’s induction into the strange sexual practice of being drugged to sleep whilst older men pay to be alone with her, Julia Leigh’s debut is a very creepy yet visually elegant work. BEV sat down with the director to talk about her inspiration and the leap from the literary world to the cinematic.

Part of your inspiration for Sleeping Beauty came from a recurring dream you had, can you tell me about that?

After the publication of my first novel I had to do a little bit of press and I contracted this horrible nightmare of being filmed in my sleep. It was quite compelling because the dreamer dreams she’s asleep in her own bed, when in fact she is asleep in her own bed. I realised we’re all quite vulnerable in our sleep and sometimes it’s as if we wake up and edit out our nights as if they haven’t happened. So I wondered what would it be like to know that something was happening in your sleep and know it probably wasn’t good for you? How would that seep through into your waking life?

Was this always an idea for a film script or could it have been a novel?

Yes, this idea came to me as a cinematic project, I never asked myself if it should be a book or a film, that didn’t even occur to me. I wrote the script quite quickly and I wasn’t thinking any further than just finishing the draft, so I didn’t think I would necessarily direct it. Then at a certain point in time, and I honestly can’t remember the occasion, the sentiment became ‘I’ll just do it myself’.

How was the development process and finding a producer?

I tried many producers, about fourteen or so. Some said ‘No way’. Some said ‘We really love it but we want you to make changes to the script’, changes that I didn’t agree with. In the end I found a producer who recognised the script for what it was and we made a deal that this would be the script that would be shot.

How did you prepare for the transition between the literary and the cinematic?

The cinematic qualities of the film were in the script, in the conception of the project. I did an enormous amount of preparation! Some scenes we even prepared so much that we got actors that weren’t in the film just to block out the movements using a video camera and then we took that into rehearsal with the real actors. So it evolved through that process and then we took it to set on the day.

Aesthetica Review: Guy Sherwin at Siobhan Davies Studios

(Originally published on Aesthetica)

The profile of artists working in moving image has been elevated in recent years by those who’ve made the leap into cinema – Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor-Wood, Gillian Wearing - and those taking over leading gallery spaces - Tacita Dean at Tate Modern, Pipilotti Rist at The Hayward. From ancillary practice to fine art media in its own right, it seems moving image is in the ascendant as a powerful, relevant and consumable context for visual art practice.

Things weren’t quite so rosy for the art form when Guy Sherwin first switched from painting to video in the 1960s; it’s taken time for this embrace to take hold. But this profile elevation for the form has prompted a renewal of interest in the work of pioneers of the 1960s and 70s. So Sherwin’s continued commitment to exploring the rendering of imagery on film and the process involved in doing so bestows great value to his work in the field.

This new exhibition at Siobhan Davies Studios, curated by Charles Danby, combines historical works with a new three-screen installation made especially for the space. Staircase (2011) embodies the synthesis between Sherwin’s work and this dance studio setting perfectly by recapitulating the actual staircase in the building into shadowy images projected onto another wall. So one blank architectural surface becomes a ‘screen’ for a digital rendering of another architectural feature, a ghostly duplicate with figures (one assumes dancers) spiraling down it. With this the solid becomes intangible, but the dancers still dance, as shadows this time.

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