For Robert Beavers, the camera is not a simple recording device; it has a very lively quality that surrounds the elements of filming. This session presents two films he made in the 1970s based on a 15th-century painting and the writings of John Ruskin. The construction of images and sounds in these works connects the present with the past and the past with the present in a continual toing and froing.
In The Painting, Beavers intercuts details from a Flemish tryptic, portraying a saint about to be quartered—The Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus—with shots of traffic in a busy Berne square. The montage also includes fragments of a broken mirror, a torn-up photograph, the random movement of floating dust motes and a disc of light. The rhythmic interplay of these elements presents the metaphor of a body about to be torn apart and refers to the private psychodrama of the filmmaker.
Guided by the reading of The Stones of Venice, by John Ruskin, in the final film in this session Beavers explores perceptions of the architectural details of Venice, the specific particularities of the water, the stones and the climate of this city and other places that were also important for the English writer: London and the Alps. The images and sounds of Ruskin are, then, touched by the studies and descriptions of the 19th-century critic and cry out to be “read” by taking into account the different temporalities that exist in them.
- The Painting (1972/1999) 16mm, colour, 13'
- Ruskin (1975/1997) 35mm, colour, 45'
Programme curated by Celeste Araujo & Oriol Sánchez.
Cineinfinito wants to thank Robert Beavers, Gloria Vilches & Xcèntric (CCCB) for their collaboration.