OWEN LAND & HANNAH SAWTELL: 7- 12 JULY
OPENING TUESDAY 7 JULY, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Undesirables (Work-In-Progress), 1999
16mm original, transferred to vhs video, b/w, sound, 12 mins
A rough-cut of selected scenes, edited as a sampler to be used in fundraising towards completion of the film “Undesirables”. “The idea started with a casual comment made by Stan Brakhage, must have been way back in the early 1970s. It stuck in my mind. Now that I think about it, Brakhage may have meant this as a joke. He said, “Someday Hollywood will probably make a film about us,” – ‘us’ meaning the experimental filmmakers – “and I wonder which actors will play us?” Think about that first of all: the idea that Hollywood would make a film about experimental filmmakers is totally ridiculous. The fact that one would think about which actor was going to play me at some time in the future, I think that’s very funny. Eventually it germinated in my mind and I thought it was an interesting idea… A film about experimental filmmakers, especially in the very formative period, approximately 1968 to 1972. The movement went from a high point where there was a lot of publicity generated in the media, and seemed to peter out shortly after that. At a certain time, I guess it was in the 1980s, there was some discussion in film circles about the decline of the experimental film and people were theorising about why it happened and some people suggested maybe because of video, and I guess there were other theories too. So I thought, “Why not come up with a fantastic theory about why that happened?” – a fictional theory – and put that into a film?” (Owen Land, inter- viewed by Mark Webber, 2004)
Owen Land was born in Connecticut, USA in 1944. His films in the 1960s and 1970s, are some of the first examples of the so-called “structural film” movement. Retrospectives of Land’s films have been held at the Edinburgh Film Festival, The Tate Gallery in London, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Rent (A youth of waste, a life of mess), 2009 Video, colour, sound, 7 mins
Hannah Sawtell’s work proposes an engagement with means of production and the way form and image is disseminated. Works are sometimes deployed as satirical, ‘Swiftian’ observations, but often feel like odes to the forced, bittersweet evolution of use value. Sawtell teases out the vacillating beauty and numb homogeneity of the current. With precision and an air of lyricism her work generates relationships between objects, creating balanced but contra- dictory dialectical encounters. In “Rent (A youth of waste, a life of mess)” a soundtrack of digitally edited civic sounds, such as a recording of a London shopping centre, accompanies a series of images pulled from internet product promotions and screensaver palettes. Between each image is a generic animated transition, as those commonly seen on computer slideshow presentations. Into this cycle Sawtell introduces methods of interruption so that the cyclical nature of the excess of produc- tion, taste and choice is sliced, chipped and parted. A new sculptural work by the artist will also be shown alongside the film.
Hannah Sawtell graduated from Chelsea College of Art, London in 2006. She is currently completing an MA at the Royal Academy, London. Forthcoming exhibitions include the International Project Space, Bournville (2009).
FELIX GMELIN & AMALIA PICA: 14 – 19 JULY
OPENING TUESDAY 14 JULY, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Farbtest, Die Rote Fahne II, 2002 Two channel video, 12 mins
Sound and Vision, 2006
Two channel video installation, projection and monitor, colour, sound, 2 mins
Felix Gmelin’s “Farbtest, Die Rote Fahne II”, presents two short tapes on monitors side-by-side that are, at a glance, identical. Closer examination reveals that in fact the images are not quite the same, but very similar. In each one, a runner carries a large red flag through the streets of what appears to be a northern European city, transferring the flag to another participant at various intervals. The sense of historical period is also rather vague: the runners wear similar dark clothes; their hairstyles are not particularly revelatory, either. Perhaps the large number of Volkswagens in the video on the left tips the viewer off that this one was originally filmed in Germany. In fact one monitor shows a ready made film from 1968 of a relay of students (includ- ing Gmelin’s father)
carrying a red flag to the Berlin city hall where they hang it from the balcony; the second film, a remake from 2002, shows Gmelin’s students passing a red flag through the streets of Stockholm to the city hall, but this time they don’t reach the bal- cony. Sound and Vision was commissioned for the 4th Berlin Biennial, ‘Of Mice and Men’ in 2006. The point of departure is a Swedish sex education film from 1970 in which a school class of blind children, urged on by an older female teacher, physi- cally and objectively examines the sexual organs of a pair of healthy youngsters by squeezing them. This is projected in the gallery while in a second film, shot in the early 1980s and displayed on a small monitor, Gmelin is given a lesson on liberat- ing the senses by his father. “In his project for the fourth berlin biennial, Felix Gmelin again returns to the social and political events of the late 1960s; this time in order to investigate the ambivalences and paradoxes of the ‘sexual revolution’.” (Kim West, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin).
Felix Gmelin was born in Heidelberg in 1962 and lives and works in Stockholm. Gmelin has participated twice in the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2003; in the October Salon 2006, Belgrade, and also in the Berlin Biennial 2006. He has had solo shows at institutions including Portikus, Frankfurt, Gasworks, London and Malmö
On education, 2008
16mm film transferred to DVD, colour, 4:03 mins
Amalia Pica likes to see her work as the result of her will to bring into real life what she has learned in books and oral popular culture. She compares herself, in this sense, to Don Quixote. The art that results from such an impossible project is a sort of imaginative re-accommodation of truth, ‘a translation of reality into what has been read or a superposition of both’. As a re- sult, her pieces are contextual interventions on buildings, monuments or objects, which can include performative components. Perception, time, memory and a certain sense of spectacle are chief instruments for her work. Always spiced with irony, Pica’s work is a critique of icons that is carried out on the icons themselves. (Gerardo Mosquera)
“On education” was shot while staging a public space intervention in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. This short film shows the artist painting the horse of an equestrian monument white ‘On education’ by J. Rousseau appear sporadically as subtitles. The soundtrack of the film is the added sound known as ‘white noise’ or ‘room tone’ (the sound of an empty space). The image of a white horse as a symbol of a magical status comes from fairy tales and a popular South American riddle, also to be found in the US and Mediterranean Europe, which asks about the white color of the general’s horses. In the riddle, the military hero changes from country to country, but the white color of the horse stays the same. “On education” addresses the telling of history as epic. A tradition of History being told as a simple story.
For this exhibition, Pica will also show a second recent piece.
Amalia Pica was born in Neuquén, Argentina in 1978. She has participated widely in museum group exhibitions includ- ing Hayward Gallery, London (2009), Kunsthalle Basel (2008), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2007), Liverpool Biennial (2006). Pica will have a solo exhibition at Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam later this year.
MEGAN FRASER & BABETTE MANGOLTE: 21 – 26 JULY
OPENING TUESDAY 21 JULY, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
16mm film, looped projection, colour, sound, 14 mins
The figure of an ambiguous casement comes to us in the initial image sequence of Arkhé. We are confronted with full- frame shots of surfaces, generally long takes of mottled and indigent convolutions of matter – skin – submerged in a viscous, slowly swirling liquid: a preservative solution. These views of an enclosed, suspended state of decay echo with the sound of an exterior environment. The drone of a street impinges and reinforces the optical concentration that these images seem intent on safeguarding. Whether it is we who are the bound subjects – refracting sonic coincidence coming through an open window – or those viewing it from outside – contingently glimpsing the exterior of a monadic enclosure – our positions and points of identification are immediately put into a delicate balance.
Rather than resolve these questions into a representation, Fraser’s film redeems them with interspersed cuts into these surfaces, opening the possibility that viewers will be momentarily placed back into their seats. The curated remnants of optical experience are here shocked into emblematic fragments, interrupting their contemplative quality by instants of a black screen. These tactile impressions push the formaldehyde tableaux into allegories of the occlusion of a clear path to its object. We are pointed toward obliquely angled thresholds to the straight gait of a desiccated pact between sensuous experience and rationality.
Excerpt from a text by Sam Lewitt
Megan Fraser graduated from the MFA course at Milton Avery Graduate School Of The Arts, New York in 2008. She has participated in exhibitions and film programmes at The Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London and International Project Space, Birmingham.
(NOW) or MAINTENANT ENTRE PARENTHESES, 1976 16mm film transferred to DVD, colour, silent, 10 mins
“A linear succession of activities / manipulations of objects. Film = Now / Projected Film = (Now)“
This short film is Mangolte’s second film shot in the 70s when the artist moved from Paris to NY and became the photopra- pher and cinematographer of the performance art scene in NYC. Among many others Babette Mangolte worked with dance performers Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown. Their new ideas of conceptual performance and object relations in dance in- formed Mangolte‘s own filmic aesthetic as much as the enigmatically anti-expressive styles of film director Robert Bresson and the structuralist realism of Chantal Akerman for whom she was director of photography. The style Mangolte developed in her films in the 70s is a unique fusion between New York conceptualism and the new French realist sensibility, processed through the artist’s strong intellectual sense of imagination. The actors in “(Now)”, Linda Patton and James Barth, were performers in Yvonne Rainer‘s provocative new choreography. Babette Mangolte had worked already with Linda Patton and James Barth in her first film What Maisie Knew (1975) which used elements of minimal performance for an abstract narration based on Henry James‘ novel.
Babette Mangolte is an experimental filmmaker who lives in New York City. Her films and photo work were included in “The American Century” show in 1999 at the Whitney Museum in New York and “Century City” at the Tate Britain in London in 2001.
For further information or images please contact Martin Rasmussen: +44 (0)20 7729 9888 or: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Artists, 3 Shows: 7 – 26 JulyOwen Land & Hannah Sawtell, Felix Gmelin & Amalia Pica, Megan Fraser & Babette Mangolte
07 Jul – 26 Jul 2009