2012 Spring Programming

Film Screening: Performing Painting
Jun 15, 2012

Film Screening: Performing Painting, Painters Filmmaking
Fri, Jun 15, 8–9:30pm

Andy Ditzler’s Film Love series continues with a selection of historical films and videos that connect to our current Painters Panting exhibition. In the early 1920s, painters and artists began creating films that took cinema into new visual territory. Treating the filmstrip as a canvas, they made works that privileged color and the rhythm of film’s movement.

The program begins with early 1920s works – some of the first abstract films – in which painters Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling worked through new ideas about the cinematic medium. Two early masters of the handpainted film, New Zealander Len Lye and the American Harry Smith, are represented by vibrant, virtuosic works. Avant garde pioneer Stan Brakhage turned to handpainting film late in his career, producing haunting works that suggest abstract expressionist painting but move with a filmic rhythm and depth entirely their own. Robert Breer’s enigmatic, hand-drawn animation of a train trip and Jennifer Reeves’ latter-day The Girl’s Nervy are two acknowledged masterpieces of handmade cinema.

With films by Viennese Actionist artists Otto Muehl and Gunter Brus, the program also explores how artists have used the human body as an artistic surface. Drawing together all these concerns is the work of filmmaker and current Whitney Biennial artist Luther Price. In his Inkblots series, Price re-edits found documentary footage, then paints over the filmstrip in complex layers. Price’s Inkblot films are projected as originals – no prints are made. Thus, it is Price’s own painting that moves through the projector and is animated on screen. The materiality of paint and of the film strip are linked, with implications of the materiality of the human body itself.

Selections (subject to change):
Rhythm 21 (Hans Richter, 1921), 3 min
Symphonie Diagonale (Viking Eggeling, 1924), 7 min
Color Cry (Len Lye, 1952-53), 3 min
Free Radicals (Len Lye, 1958/revised 1979), 4 min
Selections from Early Abstractions (Harry Smith, ca. 1948-57), 20 min
Black Ice (Stan Brakhage, 1994), 2 min
The Dante Quartet (Stan Brakhage, 1987), 6 min
Fuji (Robert Breer, 1973), 8 min
The Girl’s Nervy (Jennifer Reeves, 1995), 5 min
Funebre (Otto Muehl, 1966), 6 min
10/65-67: Self Destruction (Kurt Kren, 1965), 5 min
The Biscuit Song (Inkblot #11) (Luther Price, 2008), 8 min