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12 SEPTEMBER 2014

MoMA: Geometry of Motion 1920s/1970s

Geometry of Motion 1920s/1970s, March 19–July 28, 2008, The Yoshiko and Akio Morita Media Gallery, second floor, The Museum of Modern Art.

"This exhibition considers the transformation of the art object from static image to light projection within two distinct artistic lineages: the unconventional optical techniques and social analyses of the 1920s Neue Optik, or 'New Vision,' generation of artists, among them László Moholy–Nagy, Hans Richter, and Marcel Duchamp; and the situational aesthetics advanced by Gordon Matta–Clark, Robert Smithson, and Anthony McCall in the 1970s. Drawing attention to the conditions and complexities of perception–both within the framework of institutional display and in other surroundings–these artists have redefined the social potential of visual agency."

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1920s1970safterimage • Anthony McCall • art object • artistic lineage • durationEl Lissitzkyexhibitionexperimental cinema • fluid light projection • geometric abstraction • Gordon Matta-Clark • Hans Richter • Hollis Frampton • immaterialityintangible creationsJames Turrell • Klaus Biesenbach • Laszlo Moholy-Nagylight and space • light and space movement • light artlight projectionMarcel Duchamp • Maria Nordman • materialisationmotion artsmovementmovement-image • moving through space • Museum of Modern Art • Neue Optik (New Vision) • non-narrative • objecthood • objecthood and space • optical techniques • Paul Sharits • peripatetic • Richard Serra • Robert Irving (artist) • Robert Irwin • Robert Smithson • Roxana Marcoci • solid light films • static image • structural film • VernissageTV (VTV) • Viking Eggeling

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 DECEMBER 2012

Influential American experimental cinema: Meshes of the Afternoon

"Meshes of the Afternoon is one of the most influential works in American experimental cinema. A non–narrative work, it has been identified as a key example of the 'trance film,' in which a protagonist appears in a dreamlike state, and where the camera conveys his or her subjective focus. The central figure in Meshes of the Afternoon, played by Deren, is attuned to her unconscious mind and caught in a web of dream events that spill over into reality. Symbolic objects, such as a key and a knife, recur throughout the film; events are open–ended and interrupted. Deren explained that she wanted 'to put on film the feeling which a human being experiences about an incident, rather than to record the incident accurately.'

Made by Deren with her husband, cinematographer Alexander Hammid, Meshes of the Afternoon established the independent avant–garde movement in film in the United States, which is known as the New American Cinema. It directly inspired early works by Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and other major experimental filmmakers. Beautifully shot by Hammid, a leading documentary filmmaker and cameraman in Europe (where he used the surname Hackenschmied) before he moved to New York, the film makes new and startling use of such standard cinematic devices as montage editing and matte shots. Through her extensive writings, lectures, and films, Deren became the preeminent voice of avant–garde cinema in the 1940s and the early 1950s."

(MoMA, 2004)

The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999.

Maya Deren (1943). "Meshes of the Afternoon", 16mm film, black and white, silent, 14 min. Acquired from the Artist.

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16mm1943 • Alexander Hackenschmied • Alexander Hammid • American cinemaavant-garde cinemablack and whiteBolexcinemacinematic devicescloakdeathdream • dream world • dreamlike qualityeditingexperimental cinemaexperimental film • experimental filmmaker • filmfilm pioneerfilmmakerflowerFreudianindependent cinemainfluential directorinfluential worksKenneth Angerkeyknife • matte • Maya Deren • Meshes of the Afternoon • mirrorMoMA • New American Cinema • non-narrativeopen-endedpersonal filmrecurring ideasrepetitionrhythmscreen-mediated virtual spaceseminalsilent filmstaircaseStan Brakhagesurrealist cinemasymbolic meaningsymbolism • Teiji Ito • tranceunconscious desires • unconscious meaning • women in filmwomen in historywordless

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 DECEMBER 2012

Cindy Sherman - Nobody's Here But Me (1994)

"New York based artist, Cindy Sherman, is famous for her photographs of women in which she is not only the photographer, but also the subject. She has contributed her own footage to the programme by recording her studio and herself at work with her Hi–8 video camera. It reveals a range of unexpected sources from visceral horror to medical catalogues and exploitation movies, and explores her real interests and enthusiasms. She shows an intuitive and often humorous approach to her work, and reflects on the themes of her work since the late 1970s. She talks about her pivotal series known as the 'Sex Pictures' in which she addresses the theme of sexuality in the light of AIDS and the arts censorship debate in the United States."

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199420th century art • AIDS • artist • arts censorship • BBC2Cindy Shermancolour photographscritical reinterpretation • dramatic lighting • dressing up • Eric Bogosian • exploitation filmsfemale artistfeminist artfictional scenariosfilm stills • Hi-8 video • humorous approach • Jamie Lee Curtis • Mark Stokes • medical catalogue • New York • Nobodys Here But Me (1994) • non-narrativeNorth American artist • nude photography • photographerphotographic portrait • photographs of women • representation of women • Robert Longo • sequential art • sex pictures • sexuality • strange subjects • street persona • visceral horror • woman photographerwomen artists • works series

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 AUGUST 2012

Paolo Gioli's cinematic tone poem to Marilyn Monroe

"Italian film maker Paolo Gioli creates a haunting short movie by animating photographs taken by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe shortly before she died at the age of 36, fifty years ago today.

Filmarilyn is both beautiful and foreboding. As the film's jazzy rhythms start to disintegrate and the images slow to a crawl, 'X' marks on the contact sheets appear like magical curses and a fresh scar on Marilyn's flesh transforms into a stigmata while her face, half–hidden by shrouds of white, eyes closed, turns impossibly pale and lifeless. In the final moments, close–ups of her hands in death–like repose seem almost saintly and as the film's last frames unspool we are left with the sense of having seen an apparition, a ghost... a soul X–rayed.

It's amazing how much power and sadness Gioli creates from so few elements – a testimony to his artistry, Marilyn's radiance and Stern's skill in capturing it."

(Marc Campbell, 05 August 2012, Dangerous Minds)

Fig.1 Paolo Gioli (1992) "Filmarilyn", uploaded to Vimeo by Volodymyr Bilyk.

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1992 • actress • animated sequenceanimated video • animating photographs • apparitionavant-garde cinema • Bert Stern • blondecelluloid • contact sheet • cultural icondeath • death-like repose • depth of focus • disintegrate • experimental film • eyes closed • Filmarilyn • Filmmarilyn • final moments • forebodingfound imagesframe by frameghost • haunting • HollywoodHollywood starletjazz rhythm • lifeless • manipulated images • Marilyn Monroe • modulated object framing • motion designnon-narrative • Paolo Gioli • photographic blow-upspop iconre-purposerhythmic motionrisque • scar • scavengedsequence design • sex symbol • short film • short movie • shrouds of white • simulate dimensionality • slow to a crawl • soul • stigmata • still images • still photographs • stop-frame animation • superstar • tantalizing • tone poem • unspool • visual recessions • X marks • x-ray

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 NOVEMBER 2008

Mothlight: Brakhage's celluloid flypaper

"Mothlight visualises a 'day in the life' of an insect from birth to death; however, it summons some of the more positive associations of lepidoptera, such as creativity and the soul (1). You could say Brakhage puts the 'anima' back into animation, reanimating the dead, painstakingly affixing the remains of dead insects, leaves and the like onto the film strip, and feeding it through the projector back to life. Of course, the principle of film projection is the illusion of life through light, with the audience gathering to watch like moths attracted to a lamp: the beauty of Mothlight is the way Brakhage evokes the moth not through cartoon mimicry, but by the fragile sensation of its movement, batting against the screen, hurtling in descent. The effect is exhilarating and terrifying.

Brakhage might be accused of playing God (or Dr Frankenstein), and it is no coincidence that Mothlight was assembled during the long production of his creationist epic Dog Star Man (1961–4). ... Its making is also a dismantling – imagine celluloid flypaper – and its examination of life's remains looks forward to The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971). Mothlight acknowledges the limitations of the screen, the way film traps subject matter in a box, suffocating the life out of it."
(Darragh O'Donoghue)

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1963animationavant-garde cinemaavant-garde film makercameraless film • celluloid flypaper • cinemaexperimental filmfilm • film strip • Frankensteinindependent filminsectlightmaterial practicematerialist cinemamaterialitymoth • Mothlight • non-narrativeStan Brakhage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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