As part of Antony McCall – Solid Light Films exhibition, this program will be all about the physical presence. With films about light and the body, selected in collaboration with Malcolm Le Grice, filmmaker and theoretician of the avant-garde and experimental film. We will start the evening with a couple of classic Dutch performance films, followed by not only Le Grice’s performance Threshold (1971), but also Horror Film (1971-2014), one of his most simple, most legendary and magical pieces. The evening will be introduced by Anna Abrahams, EYE programmer, experimental film director and teacher at KABK.
The Film Program:
Marinus Boezem, Het beademen van de beeldbuis (1971, video, 3′)
Boezem’s own face appears on the screen, stares at the viewer, and begins to breathe on the picture tube. After some time passes, the image begins to blur through the moisture deposited and the artist disappears from sight for several moments. While the vapour clears Boezem keeps his gaze directed on the camera, motionless, until his face is again clearly visible. In this video work Boezem makes the, normally invisible, border between maker and viewer visible by breathing on to the screen. He then plays a game with the distance between maker and viewer by calling his work ‘Breathing on the picture tube’, which implicates he is inside the television.
Jan van Munster, Zelfportret (1972, 16mm, 3′)
Jan van Munster’s face fills the image, confronting the viewer, looking into the camera with a stern gaze. He has something in his mouth. After a while, red lights start to blink symmetrically in each of his cheeks.
Jan van Munster, Cirkels (1972, 16mm, 3′)
In ‘Circles’, Van Munster himself is standing frontally in the middle of the image, gazing stoically into the camera while holding a light bulb on a long flex in his hand. With regular movements, he swings the bulb round and round.
More about Jan van Munster’s work can be found here: http://janvanmunster.nl
Ger van Elk, Some Natural Aspects of Painting and Sculpture (1970-1971, video, 12′)
A video of his own body, which alternately perspires or gets goose bumps.
Bas Jan Ader, Nightfall (1971, 16mm, 4′)
Bas Jan Ader manipulates gravity to his own ends in NIGHTFALL. Ader, lit only by two bare light bulbs, simulates the actual fall of night as he let’s drop a heavy paving stone onto both lights, plunging the frame into darkness. Ader’s calm and the film’s silence make the violence of his act much more startling. – Tom Fritsche
The filmmakers website: http://www.basjanader.com
Malcolm Le Grice, Threshold (1972, live performance with 3x 16mm, 17′)
Le Grice no longer simply uses the printer as a reflexive mechanism, but utilizes the possibilities of colour-shift and permutation of imagery as the film progresses from simplicity to complexity. The initial use of pure red and green filters gives way to a broad variety of colours and the introduction of strips of coloured/celluloid, which are drawn through the printer, begins to build and image which become graphically and spatially complex – if still abstract. – Deke Businberre
Malcolm Le Grice, Anthony Dundee (2004, video, 2′)
Made from still images shot during an exhibition in Dundee, Scotland.
Malcolm Le Grice, Self Portrait After Raba Takes Measure (1999, video, 8′)
Three projectors (three screen) video piece Self Portrait looks for an approach to a specific relationship between the duration of a work and material conditions in the projection, as did William Raban in the film performance Take Measure. The main difference is that Raban’s work was made when cinematic media had distinct physical properties linking medium directly to image – this self portrait recognizes that there is no such simple materiality for cinema following the emergence of digital processes. Instead the work takes a conceptual base – the speed of light and the time taken for light to travel from the sun to illuminate objects on earth – thus the duration of 8 minutes 20 seconds.
Malcolm Le Grice, Horror Film (1971, live performance met 3x 16mm, 20′)
A performance with three film projectors. All are superimposed on each other and create a continually changing colour light mix. Le Grice interrupts the beam with a series of formal actions creating a complex set of coloured shadows. The intention is to build a complex visual experience out of simple and readily available aspects of the projection situation. M.L.G. from ‘Real Time/Space’, Art and Artists Dec 1972.
Documentation of the performance in Eye (click below):
Born in May 1940, Malcolm Le Grice started as a painter but began to make film and computer works in the mid 1960’s. Since then he has shown regularly in Europe and the USA and his work has been screened in many international film festivals. He has also shown in major art exhibitions like the Paris Biennale No.8, Arte Inglese Oggi, Milan, Une Histoire du Cinema, Paris, Documenta 6, Kassel, X-Screen at the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, and Behind the Facts at the Fondacion Joan Miro, Barcelona. His work has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London and is in permanent collections including: the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Royal Belgian Film Archive, Brussels; the National Film Library of Australia, Canberra; German Cinamatheque Archive, Berlin; Canadian Distribution Centre, Montreal and Archives du Film Experimental D’Avignon. A number of longer films have been transmitted on British TV, including ‘Finnegans Chin’, ‘Sketches for a Sensual Philosophy’ and ‘Chronos Fragmented’. His main work since the mid 1980’s is in video and digital media and includes the multi-projection video installation works ‘The Cyclops Cycle’ and ‘Treatise’.
Le Grice has written critical and theoretical work including a history of experimental cinema ‘Abstract Film and Beyond’ (1977, Studio Vista and MIT). For three years in the 1970’s he wrote a regular column for the art monthly Studio International and has published numerous other articles on film, video and digital media. Many of these have been collected and recently published under the title ‘Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age’ by the British Film Institute (2001).
Le Grice is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Arts London where he is a collaborating director with David Curtis of the British Artists Film and Video Study Collection.