This new instalment in our on-going series Films in Dialogue proposes an encounter between the work of two highly idiosyncratic, poetic and mysterious artists: Mary Helena Clark (1983, USA) and Stephen Sutcliffe (1968, lives and works in Glasgow).
After shows in Los Angeles (Echo Park), Winnipeg (WNDX Festival) and Toronto (Pleasure Dome) the 20th Anniversary Film Farm celebrations journey to the U.K., presented by Lux Moving Image of London! The Film Farm Lux 20th Show, curated and presented by Artistic Director and founder Philip Hoffman, includes early and recent films (16mm and digital) made at the Film Farm between 1994 and 2014.
In conjunction with ‘The Man with the Film Projector’ (23 April – 5 May 2015), Kao Chung-li’s first solo exhibition in the UK, LUX is hosting a screening and panel discussion which aims to explore the history of experimental film in Taiwan as well as Kao’s specific film aesthetics.
The screening will showcase a number of rare films, never previously shown in the UK, including Zhuang Ling’s Life Continued (1966) and Chang Chao-tang’s Face in Motion (1970). Zhuang Ling was one of the core members of Theatre Quarterly, a self-funded avant-garde magazine which introduced European art and film theory to Taiwan, and was published in Taipei by a group of young film aficionados and intellectuals in the 1960s during the martial law era. In a claustrophobic environment that exercised strict thought control, Western modernity represented for these young people an attempt to break free. Chang Chao-tang participated in Theatre’s second experimental film screening with his short film Diary (1967). He later worked at a government-controlled TV station where he made Face in Motion as a result of being bored beyond belief. Kao Chung-li’s early experimental film Home Movies (1988), which inspired Yu Wei-yen’s film Gang of Three Forever (1989), will also be shown at LUX.
Whether working with video, photographs or drawings, the work of Toronto-based artist Jean-Paul Kelly (b. 1977) explores the relationship between “materiality and perception”. Kelly poses questions about the limits of representation by examining complex associations between found photographs, videos, and sounds from documentaries, photojournalism, and online media streams.
At LUX, Kelly will present his most recent works The Innocents (2014, UK premiere), Movement in Squares (2013) and Figure-ground (2013), which will be screened in dialogue with a selection of films and videos from the LUX collection by artists such as Norman McLaren, Lewis Klahr, Steve Reinke and James Richards. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Kelly and Erika Balsom.
In her poem The Breast Anne Sexton ends with the line, “I burn the way money burns,” suggesting the complex and contradictory nature of female desire and its structurally dictated dual role—as lover but also care-giver and mother. These five films selected from LUX and Cinenova collections (1978-1994) not only confront this dual nature of women’s work. Through formal experimentation of both sound and image tracks, they also envision what Susan Stein describes in She Said as the “geometry of creeping lines” that inscribe the social relation of reproduction onto space itself.
The films by Los Angeles artist and filmmaker Morgan Fisher (US, 1942) are largely about film itself, whether in its material form and technical procedures or as an institution, such as the tropes of films made in the commercial film industry. Fisher started making film in the late 1960s, when the dominant schools of visual art were minimalism and conceptualism. Some of his films were included in “Information,” the landmark exhibition of conceptual art at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970, and received further recognition at the Independent Avant-Garde Film Festival, London, in 1973. In 2005-2006 a retrospective was presented at Tate Modern, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. From the beginning Fisher made his films as a filmmaker, but the range of his films, touching visual art on one side and on the other the commercial film industry, above all Hollywood, has complicated the reception of his work within avant-garde film criticism. Since the late 1990s Fisher has been active mainly as a visual artist, producing paintings and other works, many of which, like his films, bring into view unexamined assumptions about their medium.
Laida Lertxundi (b. 1981, Spain) makes films with non-actors – often friends – in and around Los Angeles, the city where she studied under James Benning and Thom Andersen, and where she has been living for a number of years. Shot under the blue Californian sky, her films feature the same topography as Hollywood cinema. Lertxundi questions cinematic conventions of representation and storytelling in her work at the same time that she proposes new associations between sound and image. In London, Beatrice Gibson (b. 1978, UK) addresses similar formal and conceptual concerns in her work, which is also shaped by the material constraints and aesthetic properties of 16mm film. Beyond the differences in the specific subjects of their films, the underlying themes in their work – speculative narrative, film as landscape, sound as material, the production process, collaborative practice – resonate in an uncanny way. The screening will be followed by a conversation between the two filmmakers and curator Maria Palacios Cruz, who has written an essay on the films of Gibson and Lertxundi for the forthcoming issue of Sequence.