In 1981, Laurence Kardish programmed Of Light and Texture at the Museum of Modern Art, a dual exhibition of Andrew Noren and James Herbert’s films. Today, community curator Paul Attard will present a new screening of Cantico by Herbert and Imaginary Light by Noren, serving as a well-overdue survey of two seminal and long-neglected 16mm masters who, by their own choosing, have nearly vanished from the public’s consciousness since that exhibition.
By 1989, Noren had withdrawn all of his films from the Film-Makers’ Cooperative and rarely screened any new work up until his death in 2015. Since 2007, Herbert has focused his attention towards large scale painting. While both dabbled with digital technologies during the 2000s, the two films that will be shown at the Library for the Performing Arts are presented on pristine celluloid: 1994’s Imaginary Light and 1982’s Cantico.
Disregarding the many technical merits both films have going for them—their intense ethereal beauty and rigorous formal qualities aside—there’s also a question of rarity here with this screening: there is, quite literally, nowhere else in the world where one can see both of these films in direct conversation with one another.