Rhapsodies in Silver

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The Snowman (Phil Solomon, 1995)Coinciding with the end of his video installation American Falls at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Phil Solomon's work is the subject of a nearly-complete survey at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Phil Solomon: Rhapsodies in Silver, a retrospective in three parts presenting Solomon's work from his recent videos using the Grand Theft Auto videogame software to his earliest films from the 1980s, will be screened on July 10, 11 and 17. Solomon will be present to introduce the programmes at the screenings of July 10 and 11.

July 10, 15h

Introduction by Phil Solomon

Solomon's recent forays in machinima arose from the unexpected death of his friend, filmmaker Mark LaPore. The two had collaborated to make Crossroad (2005), shaping an allegorical videogame noir from the software used to make Grand Theft Auto. Solomon went on to make Rehearsals for Retirement (2007), Last Days in a Lonely Place (2007), and Still Raining, Still Dreaming (2009) in tribute. American Falls (2010) combines celluloid transformations with high-def video: this is the theatrical, single-channel premiere of Solomon's recent Corcoran Gallery installation, both love song and lament for a nation perpetually on the brink. (Total running time 103 minutes)


July 11, 16:30h

Introduction by Phil Solomon

Stan Brakhage observed that many of Solomon's films address "the lost world of childhood, in direct opposition to every notion of the Romance of being young." This program features three tone poems surveying the midnight passage from innocence to experience: The Secret Garden (1988), Clepsydra (1992), and The Snowman (1995). Also included is the finest of Solomon's hand-painted film collaborations with Brakhage, Seasons . . . (2002). The allegorical Twilight Psalm II: Walking Distance (1999) appears onscreen like a dream poured from noble metals: analogous, in the artist's words, to something found in "rusted medieval film cans . . . a two-reeler [from] a time when images were smelted and boiled rather than merely taken." (Total running time 86 minutes)


July 17, 13h

Remains to Be Seen (1989 / 1994) and The Exquisite Hour (1989 / 1994), Solomon's melancholic masterpieces of distressed found footage, envision the passage from life to death. Nocturne (1980 / 1989) and What's Out Tonight Is Lost (1983) are silent imaginings of suburban disquiet. Solomon's haunting Twilight Psalm III: Night of the Meek (2002) appears like an excavation of buried collective memory: an incantation in molten silver, it conjures the Golem on Hitler's Kristallnacht. The program concludes with Solomon's joyful Yes, I Said Yes, I Will, Yes (1999). (Total running time 76 minutes)