Cinema Parenthèse #11: Paolo Gioli - The Pierced Screen

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Cinema Parenthèse #11 presents Paolo Gioli: The Pierced Screen with an introduction by Enrico Camporesi

In collaboration with Ambasciata d’Italia – Istituto Italiano di Cultura Brussels and WIELS - Centre for Contemporary Art.

A tireless inventor and tinkerer (‘bricoleur’) of film and photography apparatuses, Paolo Gioli (b. 1942) is one of the most peculiar protagonists emerged from the Italian scene of the 1970s. Unique, for his eccentricity, though at the same time double, that is: divided in his own parallel analysis of fixed images and moving ones. And at a closer glance, one could argue that his entire body of work is haunted by the figure of the double, starting from, obviously, negative and positive (most often 16 mm black and white film printed onto color stock). The program presents a path through a selection among a filmography that spans forty years. These six films let us peek into a laboratory in which – following Sergei Eisenstein’s genealogy of the medium – the “urge to secure phenomena” (photography) meets “the urge to secure a process” (cinema).

Enrico Camporesi oversees the research and documentation activities at the film collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou (Paris). He recently published Futurs de l’obsolescence, a book on artists’ films preservation (Editions Mimésis, 2018). In 2015 he curated, with Eline Grignard, the exhibition “Paolo Gioli: Faces” at Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn, NY). He edited with Philippe Dubois, Antonio Somaini, and Eline Grignard the catalog Paolo Gioli. Impressions sauvages, forthcoming for Les Presses du Réel (April 2019).

Introduction (English) by Enrico Camporesi

- Del Tuffarsi E Dell'annegarsi (1972, 16mm, b&w, silent, 10'25)
"Del tuffarsi e dell’annegarsi" [On Diving In And Drowning]. The film relates the beliefs the author held for a certain time concerning water and diving into it. It all begins with a dive and with a whirlpool that never existed; two visual prototypes on the basis of which the mischievous view of the author created a filmic inversion of water and its flow, of the diver and of the imaginary whirlpools. This expansion, unforeseen in spontaneous natural phenomena is, however, foreseen by the very little spontaneous nature of the diver, who, after repeated efforts, ends by realizing a plunge which is at once fatal and desired.

- L'operatore Perforato (1979, 16mm, b&w, silent, 8'53)
"L’operatore perforato" [The Perforated Operator]. A film derived from a scrap of an old and anonymous Pathé film with the well-known center perforations [of the 9.5mm format]. Constructed through multiple passes and optical set-ups using very few images from an anonymous stock shot to which brief, extraneous fragments have been added. In the middle of the perforation an unknown camera operator tries to somehow film part of a story (of what? of whom?) with some apparent success. Inexorably, the center perforation breaks into and disturbs the images of the camera operator, itself becoming the central protagonist, to the point, however, of becoming almost a screen or rather, actually a screen. A film dedicated to the perforation on fifty centimeters of film of a camera operator found and then perforated.

- Film Stenopeico (1974-1989, 16mm, b&w, silent, 13'06)
This film, as the Vertovian title indicates, was made without a movie camera, more precisely with a device custom made to restore to images freedom from optics and mechanics. The act of substituting my device for a traditional movie camera is part of a project I have continued from that moment on towards weaning myself from a consumer technology, a toxin to pure creativity. This strange movie camera is a simple hollow metal tube, one centimeter thick, two centimeters wide, and a little more than a meter long. At the ends, two reels hold 16mm film. Film is pulled through manually causing alternations of time and space. The images enter simultaneously through 150 holes distributed along one side in proximity to each frame, that come to make up 150 tiny pinhole camera obscuras, also called stenopeic from the Greek stenos = narrow and from the stem op- from orào = to see. These tiny holes, when placed, for example, in front of a standing human figure, can explore it in its verticality but without any movement, which is appropriate since each hole will take in a single point, the detail in front of which the hole lies. One of the most obvious results will be to find oneself confronted precisely with a movement of the camera that never happened; somewhat magical pneumatic flutterings running longitudinally and transversally along a face and body reconstructed through 150 image points.

- Quando I Volti Si Toccano (2012, 16mm, b&w, silent, 6'44)
"Quando i volti si tòccano" [When Faces Touch]. A reflection on the material, on the filmic support. Strips of figures wander, fluxuate in the whirling kinetic rhythms imposed on them. These faces, these dispersed shattered bodies result from contacts (this is where they "touch") made by old photographic plates and anonymous fragments of film; everything is set onto and into a spiral.

- Filmarlyn (1992, 16mm, b&w, silent, 11'12)
This brief film, it seems to me to exist, finally, as if I had found it somewhere completely forgotten, as if it had been some unsuccessful pre-cinematic experiment. All animations were constructed from photographs from a huge book. Finally, she dies and is found, in a simulation as if it were a simulation; as if I, with my movie camera, had been the first one to enter the room where she died.

- I Volti Dell'anonimo (2009, 16mm, b&w, silent, 10'30)
"I volti dell’Anonimo" [Faces By A Person Unknown]. Faces and figures found on reels of film by an unknown artist from the first few years of the 20th century. I fed the images through what was probably his own movie camera that I had purchased in Rome in 1972. The frames appeared vertically and horizontally, individually and in short sequences and so I allowed them to become superimposed [by rephotographing them in several passes] and dissolves were created naturally by the shutter of the old movie camera due to the speed of manual rephotography, by improvised slowing down or stopping of the camera. To summarize, a movie camera reshoots a movie camera and its viscera through its own gate, creating the animation of an unknown experimental artist.

WIELS Auditorium
Avenue Van Volxem 354, 1190 Forest
Date: March 3, 2019
Program start: 15:00
Entrance:  6/4€ (cash only) (Reduction for students and unemployed)
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WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre - Brussels, Belgium


Sunday, March 3, 2019 - 15:00 to Monday, March 4, 2019 - 14:55



Sunday, March 3, 2019 - 15:00 to Monday, March 4, 2019 - 14:55
  • Av. Van Volxemlaan 354
    1190   Brussels
    50° 49' 27.768" N, 4° 19' 31.8576" E