In the mid 1960s, Edward Owens (1949-2009) was an African-American teenager attending the Art Institute of Chicago when Gregory Markopoulos arrived to found the school’s film program. Owens, who was then studying painting and sculpture, had already been making 8mm movies for a few years; impressed by the maturity of his work, Markopoulos encouraged him to move to New York. Over the next four years, Owens created a cluster of films that display an increasing mastery of form, inspired by Markopoulos’s style but transformed into something purely his own.
The performances of Bruce McClure (US) are physical experiences, hallucinatory and immersive, that stretch boundaries while celebrating the movie going experience. Working with 16mm projectors and guitar effect pedals, McClure elaborates powerful pieces that play with light, sound, the space of the performance and the viewer’s perception. “The total effect converts the room into an enormous reverberation chamber for both ear and eye, throbbing with mechanical thunder and lightning” (ArtForum).
Bozarand Cinema Parenthèse present two programmes with Larry Gottheim, in his presence for the first time in Belgium in 40 years. Larry Gottheim (°1936) became, together with Michael Snow and Ernie Gehr, one of the US most prominent and leading ’structural’ avant-garde filmmakers in the 1960s. From his late-1960s series of sublime 'single-shot' films to the dense sound/image constructs of the mid-1970s and after, his cinema is the cinema of presence, of observation, and of deep conscious engagement.
In 2014 the program Avant-Noir was first organised on the occasion of the Artist’s Film Biennial at Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. It was conceived to celebrate the work of artists active in this new century who are struggling for a new value and a new perspective placed on the black image in film and video art. These essential films and videos and the artists who created them are in some cases woefully underseen, in other cases known but not celebrated nearly enough.
Norio Imai: Film and Video Works Time Severed, Jointed and Stretched
As the closing event of the exhibition A Feverish Era in Japanese Art. Expressionism in the 1950's and 1960's, this screening / talk focuses on a pioneering voice that led the next generation of Japanese contemporary art. As Gutai’s youngest member, Norio Imai’s white relief sculptures might be familiar, but his works involving film, slides and video have received very little attention.
“Having reached an age at which you think about getting your bags ready for the next world, I’m about to burn my life, to throw away all I’ve collected and accumulated for over half a century. Books, clothes, films, everything must, will disappear, in ashes and smoke. Funeral (on the art of dying) presents itself as the ‘last’ episode of my auto-cine-biographic work Babel, which covers over thirty years of my life. Funeral will bring this narration of life to its end. It can be considered as my last movie, as a will.” (Boris Lehman)
Hierarchy of Particles is a program of films and videos that explore particles and fragments of image and sound through a variety of formats – from image-processing of video signals, to high-contrast and hand-processed or manipulated celluloid film stock, and re-purposing film footage and warbled audio fragments.
Ernie Gehr (1941) is a key figure in American avant-garde cinema and the structural film movement, and he is undoubtedly one of the most influential and innovative artists of his generation. The film Serene Velocity, which he made in 1970 in the cellar corridors of Binghamton university, is a masterly synthesis of the conceptual and aesthetical preoccupations which even in his earliest films (Reverberation, 1969) tend to subvert a purely illusionist cinema by affirming the primacy of its elementary constituents. For over fifty years since then, Gehr has been deploying a genealogy of the photographic in cinema, no matter whether it is made on celluloid or digitally, and no matter whether it is screened in a theatre or as (part of) an installation. Gehr’s body of work therefore constitutes a homogeneous and consistent entity in which the artist, nourished by his observations of quotidian American urban landscapes (Winter Morning, 2013), his reflection on the obsessive nature of the photographic or cinematographic image, and the temporary nature of human life (A Commuter’s Life (What a Life!), 2014), purposefully articulates recurrent themes.
Ernie Gehr will personally attend the presentation of this selection from his films which also includes some unreleased titles. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Ernie Gehr and Jonathan Pouthier of the Paris Centre Pompidou.
A legendary American artist, filmmaker and actor described by Andy Warhol as the only person he would ever copy and by John Waters as “the only true underground filmmaker”.
The films of Jack Smith (USA, 1932-1989), along with the artist’s complete body of work - including photographs, collages, drawings, slide shows, costumes, sculptures and props that were used in his performances - represent one of the most seminal and important oeuvres in twentieth century art. Born in Ohio and arriving in New York in 1953, Jack Smith transformed the detritus of post-war downtown New York into filmic tableaux vivants of exotic glamour and polysexual fantasy. Rejecting the conservative political climate of an America at war with Vietnam, the trends of Abstract Expressionism, the repression of queer expression and the abstention of the pornographic in high art, Jack Smith was one of the first proponents of the aesthetics which came to be known as 'camp' and 'trash', using no-budget means of production to create a visual cosmos heavily influenced by Hollywood kitsch and orientalism. An actor for Andy Warhol, Ken Jacobs and Robert Wilson, Smith sought in his own filmmaking to create an aesthetic of delirium. Smith’s influence is obvious in the work of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Mike Kelley, Matthew Barney, Nan Goldin, John Waters, Derek Jarman, Guy Maddin and Ryan Trecartin.