Stephen Dwoskin

  • Steve Dwoskin was born in 1939 in Brooklyn, New York City. Having moved to London from the USA in 1964 Dwoskin is known for the key role he played in British Avant Garde cinema, especially in regard to film theorist of the 70s. But despite his photographic practice constituting an important and lifelong part of his work it has so far been largely overlooked. Indeed having begun as a painter and graphic designer after studying with Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers at Parsons School of Art and Design in New York, it was not until later in his life that he started to explore moving images. He discovered experimental cinema watching Maya Deren’s films and was influenced by the transgressive underground films of Jack Smith and Ron Rice and went on to publish the book ‘Film is…‘.

    Dwoskin’s photographs play a dual role within his practice. On one level they constitute key sites foregrounding his major artistic themes and concerns. But on another they also form extremely concentrated distillations that have their own autonomous expressive function as visual images in themselves. Having suffered Polio as a child Dwoskin was wheelchair bound and has inferred that his own immobility meant that the human body, in all states of pleasure and pain, became his central subject. Through visual motifs but also through his deployment of the unusual angles that his disability forced him to literally look out from, his photographs bring into consciousness his own physicality as it relates to the model he looks on so that they become deeply autobiographical documents. His films are known for the stylistic modernism that brings these elements into play and here we see these elements at work directly: the bodies of models are ‘spliced’ or superimposed with other body parts as they are studied intensely. As such their bodies are made to ‘speak’ so that they very much look back at the camera that gazes on them thus creating a dialogue that is at once sexual, intense, painfully aware of physicality and highly intimate. Dwoskin brings the model / looker relation into sharp relief but without the conceit that his consciousness of this historically fraught dynamic might somehow alleviate him from his own implication as beholder of male gaze. Instead he constructs a ‘dynamic of glances’ ( – Laura Mulvey) that makes for highly subjective, speculative, emotional and complex scenarios that weave desire, time, intimacy and corporeality into more formal concern.

  • The Inoperative Community, 2015-16
    Raven Row, London

  • Stephen Dwoskin, 2015, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Stephen Dwoskin, 2015, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Stephen Dwoskin, 2015, Vilma Gold, London, installation view

  • Stephen Dwoskin, Untitled, 1990, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, framed, 65 x 40.59 cm
    25 5/8 x 16 ins
  • Stephen Dwoskin, Untitled, 1990, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, framed, 65 x 52.37 cm, 25 5/8 x 20 5/8 ins

  • Stephen Dwoskin, Untitled, 1990, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, framed, 65 x 51.37 cm, 25 5/8 x 20 1/4 ins

  • Stephen Dwoskin, Untitled, 1990, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, framed, 100 x 65.27 cm, 39 3/8 x 25 3/4 ins

  • Stephen Dwoskin, Untitled, 1990, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, framed, 100 x 79.59 cm, 39 3/8 x 31 3/8 ins

  • Stephen Dwoskin, Untitled, 1990, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, framed, 100 x 48.85 cm, 39 3/8 x 19 1/4 ins

  • Born 1939, Brooklyn, New York
    † 2012 London

    Solo Exhibitions

    2015Vilma Gold, London

    2014Stephen Dwoskin: HA, HA! The Horse Hospital, London

    2013Stephen Dwoskins Video Letters, Lux Online

    1996(painting & drawings) Redmark Gallery, London

    Group Exhibitions

    2015History Is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain; Shadows from light has been selected by John Akomfrah, Hayward Gallery, London

    2013A Survey of Recent Artists’ Film and Video in Britain, 2008-2013, Tate Britain

    1996Photographic Collage Exhibition, International Centre, Bilbao, Spain

    1995Expo Luxembourg 95 (painting and installation) Luxembourg
    Painting & Photography Show, Gallery Vis-à-Vis, Marseille

    1987Berlin Art Exhibition, MoMA, New York

    1982British Artists in Berlin Exhibition, Goethe Institute, London

    1968(paintings exhibited) London

    1965(designs) AIGA Gallery, New York

    1963(design and photography exhibition) New York

    Selected Screenings, Festivals and Retrospectives

    2016Screening and Publication Launch of: Dossier, Close-Up, London

    2014National Portrait Gallery, London (Dynamic of Glances, Alone, Almost Out, Behindert)
    Stephen Dwoskin Symposium, ICA, London
    The Horse Hospital, London (Jesus Blood)
    Essential Experiments: The Sun and the Moon, BFI, London

    2013Assembly: A Survey of Recent Artists’ Film and Video in Britain 2008 – 2013, Tate Britain
    Four Films by Stephen Dwoskin, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

    2004Festival du film court en Seine-Saint-Denis, France

    2002Film Retrospective, Strasbourg
    38th Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema; Image Forum Festival, Japan
    11th Brisbane International Film Festival (Intoxicated by my Illness Parts 1 & 2)
    Infinity Festival, Alba, Italy (Trying to Kiss the Moon)

    2001New Documentary Films, Israel (Pain Is. . . )
    30th Rotterdam International Film Festival (Intoxicated by my Illness Part 1)

    199827th Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rotterdam
    34th Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema, Pesaro, Italy
    9th Vue Sur les Docs, Marseille
    27th International Nouveau Cinema, Montreal
    International Festival of new Film, Split
    Croatia: Vienna International film Festival (Pain Is. . . )
    Film Retrospective: Bilbao
    Taormina Arte (Trying to Kiss the Moon), Italy
    Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland
    Uit de Weg Festival, The Netherlands
    Art Without Barriers Expo, Prague (Face of our Fear)

    Bilbao Film Festival, Spain (Trying to Kiss the Moon)

    1995Film Retrospectives: Barcelona: Paris, Brussels, San Francisco, Geneva, Lucerne, Digne, Berlin, Marseille
    24th Rotterdam Film Festival
    Locarno, Switzerland
    Pesaro, Italy
    L'Alterniva, Barcelona (Trying to Kiss the Moon)

    1991International Film Festival Rotterdam (Face Anthea; L'Espirit de Brendan Behan)

    1990Film Retrospective: Madrid

    1988Festival of Festivals: Toronto, Canada
    Pesaro, Italy (Further and Particular)
    Locarno, Switzerland
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Dunkerique, France

    1986Film Retrospective: New York
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Troia, Portugal
    Malaga, Spain (Ballet Black)

    1983Film Retrospective: London

    1982FilmEx, Los Angeles
    Quebec Festival of Cinema Art, Canada (Shadows from Light)
    Film International, Rotterdam
    Cashier du Cinema Week, Paris
    Festivals2, Befialmadena, Spain
    Salsomaggiore, Italy
    Figueira da Foz, Portugal
    Digne, France
    Photographic Festival, Paris, Locarno
    Montreal, Edinburgh, London (Outside In)

    1978Film Retrospective: Moma, New York

    1977Film Retrospectives: Paris, MoMA New York
    Festivals: Rotterdam, Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Digne France, Figueira da Foz Portugal (Silent Cry)

    1976Film Retrospective: Paris
    Filmoteca Nacional de Madrid / Barcelona, Spain


    1994The Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship

    1992Premio Speciale for Cinema, “Noi, Glialtri”, Italy

    1982 “L’age D’or” (Buñuel) prize for cinema, Belgium

    1975 “Niña de Benalmadena” for complete contribution to Independent Cinema, Spain

    1974DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst); Artist in Residence Programme, Berlin

    1968“Solvey Prize” for all work in Cinema, Belgium

    1968Winner of Souvenir Competition (Council of Industrial Design, UK) for the Investiture of the Prince of Wales

    1967Edinburgh Festival Book Jacket Design Award

    1966National Book League Award for Book Design, UK

    1965Fulbright Fellowship (US Government) for design research in the UK

    1961AIGA Award, Book Cover Design: for designing one of the ten best magazines in the USA in 50 years, USA

    1958Parsons Painting Fellowship


    1993Ha, Ha! (La solution imaginaire) with Photography; pub.: The Smith, New York, USA

    1975Film Is... (on the International Free Cinema) pub.: Peter Owen Ltd. UK and Overlook Press, USA