Wednesday, February 28, 2007

la lune des lapins, paris 1950 & eaux d'artifice, villa d'este tivoli 1953

2 great films featured on the films of kenneth anger, vol. 1
included is commentary for each film by kenneth anger.

1. kenneth anger's 3rd film rabbit's moon (la lune des lapins), 1950, or "a lunar dream utilizing the classic pantomime figure of pierrot in an encounter with a prankish, enchanted magic lantern" (anger quoted in p. adams sitneys' visionary film)

this film was shot in the films du pantheon studio in paris in 1950 and edited in 1971 (anger lived much of the 1950s in paris).

a beautiful film about love, dreams, repetition, desire, and the magick and artificiality of cinema (illusions viewed through a magic lantern).

the title partly references the japanese and their viewing of the moon, apparently they see a rabbit instead of a man.

also of interest: after shooting this film, kenneth anger started production on a film version of lautreamont's les chants de maldoror, but got no further than rehearsals.

2. kenneth anger's 4th film eaux d'artifice, 1953

filmed at the villa d'este in tivoli italy with music by vivaldi, from the winter section of the four seasons. shot using a cyan filter on ferrania inra-red film and printed on color stock, which gives it a truly other worldly quality.

images of villa d'este:

anger used different camera speeds to isolate drops of water in much of this film. these shots brought to mind 2 films by ralph steiner: h2o, 1929 and surf and seaweed, 1929/30, and also the photography of susan derges.

william c. wees said of the film: "here water is the principal medium for preternatural light, and a water witch is its personification" and "in effect, the tinting turns the strips of film into blue stream from (or through) whose surface preternatural light gleams and flashes into viewers' eyes as they follow the mysterious bright figure..."

there are also beautiful imperfections in many of the shots that give the image a subtle flicker. this, and a soft focus, give the film a similar image quality you find in silent cinema.

-visionary film: the american avant-garde 1943-1978, by p. adams sitney, oxford univ. press
-light moving in time, by william c, wees, oxford univ. press
-villa d'este, by isabella pasquini barisi, de luca
-the villa d'este at tivoli, by david dernie and alastair carew-cox, academy editions

Monday, February 12, 2007

chris welsby, victor erice and other new items

1. the films/videos of chris welsby.
included in the amazing new bfi release of 8 films by chris welsby.

a great new dvd of the work of the british film-maker chris welsby. welsby in many ways comes out of the tradition of "structuralist" (p. adams sitney) film-makers and his work is related to artists like leighton pierce, jj murphy, marc lapore, andrew noren, peter hutton, rose lowder, michael snow, ernie gehr, hollis frampton, daniel barnett, larry gottheim, ken jacobs, malcolm le grice, thomas koner, mary lucier, jürgen reble, andy warhol, fred worden, tony conrad, paul sharits, joyce weiland and others.

"in my work the mechanics of film and video interact with the landscape in such a way that elemental processes - such as changes in light, the rise and fall of the tide or changes in wind direction - are given the space and time to participate in the process of representation. the resulting sequences of images make it possible to envisage a relationship between technology and nature based on principals other than exploitation and domination." chris welsby

because welsby makes "weather films" (as he calls them), they follow one of the structuralist film tendencies of being without people. however people end up creeping into the films in startling ways, like a jogger in wind vane, or the shadow of the cameraman in seven days. these events (like the ones in michael snow's wavelength and back and forth) give the work a sort of abstract narrative, that has no explanation, but still evokes some sort of plot.

films, videos and installations:
-tree studies, 2006
-trees in winter, 2006
-windmill, 2005
-waterfall, 2004
-changing light, 2004
-at sea, 2003
-tide line (contained), 2002
-drift, 2002
-tide line, 2000
-lost lake, 1998
-drift, 1994
-sea pictures, 1992
-rainfall, 1990
-sky light, 1988
-rainfall, 1983
-estuary, 1980
-shore line II, 1979
-sea/shore, 1979
-wind vane III, 1978
-cloud fragments, 1978
-shore line, 1977
-stream line, 1976
-wind vane, II, 1975
-colour separation, 1975
-windmill III, 1974
-seven days, 1974
-anemometer, 1974
-tree, 1974
-fforest bay, 1973
-running film, 1973
-windmill II, 1973
-park film, 1972-73
-winter and summer, 1972-73
-river yar (with willian raban), 1972
-wind vane, 1972

-the garden in the machine: a field guide to independent films about place, by scott macdonald, univ. of california press
-landscape, natural beauty, and the arts, cambridge university press (with an essay by p. adams sitney)
-experimental film and video anthology, indiana university press (with an essay by chris welsby)
-chris welsby - films/photographs/writings, arts council of great britain
-abstract film and beyond, by malcolm le grice, studio vista
-afterimage 1976 (with st. george in the forest: the english avant-garde, by deke dusinberre)
-millennium film journal fall/winter 1986–1987

more info here and here.

2. also noteworthy is the release of the spirit of the beehive by victor erice, 1973.

one can also view this film as coming from the same tradition as the list above, and adding such directors as jacques tati, jean-pierre melville, robert bresson, chantal ackerman, andrei tarkovsky, bela tarr, otar ioselliani, michelangelo antonioni, ingmar bergman and others. these films share an interest in formal elements (among other things). one sees this in erice's use of muted colors, long takes, formal camera movements (like the shot of the character teresa bringing her mail to the train, not unlike the opening shot of tarr's satantango), stark landscape photography and abstracted sound.

other formal elements like the structure of a film within a film relate to the great novels of cervantes, borges, eco, etc. that use the book within a book.

the visual language of erice's film makes reference to the great dutch painters like johannes vermeer (image below) (mentioned in the footprints of a spirit a documentary on victor erice), rembrandt and peter de hooch, and also the netherlandish painters jan van eyck, petrus christus, and hans memling. the visual style and palletes of these painters is very apparent in this film, especially erice's photography of interiors. in fact much renaissance painting can be seen in this film, in the near monochromatic work and muted tones of antonello da messina (image below), titian, piero della francesca, and leonardo da vinci. many paintings are in fact seen in the film, one treated in a similiar way that tarkovsky did in solaris and andrei rublev. it makes sense that his other great film the dream of light / quince tree of the sun from 1992, deals with the painter antonio lópez garcía.

select filmography:
-la morte rouge, 2006
-the dream of light / quince tree of the sun, 1992
-el sur, 1983
-the spirit of the beehive, 1973
-the cinema of victor erice: an open window, by linda ehrlich, the scarecrow press

other items equally interesting and not unrelated

3. powell & pressburger's the 49th parallel

always one of my favourite of their films (including also the red shoes, i know where i'm going, and black narcissus).
"a compelling piece of anti-isolationist propaganda and a quick-witted wartime thriller".
this film seems proof that a minor work is sometimes more interesting than a "perfect" work.

4. cherry beach project, silo 11.
a new "night-ocean drone" from mystery sea.

cherry beach project is a canadian duo (joda clement and nigel craig). recorded in a silo in an abandoned peninsula in toronto.

5. matt shoemaker, spots on the sun.
limited edition disc from the helen scarsdale agency, packaged in corroded brass done by jim haynes, not unlike the oxidation paintings of andy warhol.

"shoemaker works in monochrome, shaping his gray tonalities into rhizomes of shadow which occasionally erupt in brilliance of hyper-realized clarity. while the familiar sounds of encircling birds, turbulent weather, and temple bells litter shoemaker's recordings, the sonic topography describes a vulgar and hostile landscape where fits of delirium and circadian arrhythmia are common human responses. shoemaker achieves these complex metaphors through labyrinthine drones spiralling through irradiated fog and glassine vibrations, punctured by the scars of a landscape in perpetual revolt" helen scarsdale

6. richard chartier, current.
3" fan disc from room40.

a work that is on the threshold in perceptibility, yet lush and sonic.
"on current, his latest work to be released in conjunction with his performances in australia and japan in late 2006, chartier offers a multilayered sound field. shimmering high tones filter amid a clouded layer of dense audio mist – across the 20 minutes, he creates a potent journey through crisp yet warm sound textures, metered pulses and spacious stereo field.
the piece is thematically linked to the idea of travel by airplane - the disassociation of time and location – air currents above and the oceanic currents below." room40

Sunday, February 4, 2007

abstractions, monochromes and minimalism, part 2

a small list of considerations for a chronicle of abstraction, with examples from music, photography, painting, film, video, and literature, part 2. (see part 1)
including minimalism and the monochrome.
mainly documenting books in my collection.

1. john virtue
black and white paintings of a barely perceivable london skyline.
-john virtue: london paintings, national gallery

2. hans danuser
swiss photographer with an interest in liminality.
look here for more images.
-hans danuser: delta, lars muller

3. mario reis
"mario reis' paintings explore the inherent qualities of the natural landscape. in his series nature watercolors, reis submerges blank canvases into waterways across the world. the accumulation of sediment onto the canvas reflects the flow and ebb of the water and the palette of the river itself. born in weingarten, germany, reis currently resides in dusseldorf."
university art gallery ucsd

4. the films of krzysztof kieslowski
especially the visual and aural abstractions seen in the
-la double vie de véronique, 1991
-bleu, 1993
-blanc, 1994
-rouge, 1994
-kieslowski on kieslowski, faber & faber
-the films of krzysztof kieslowski: the liminal image, by joseph g. kickas, continuum

5. emmet gowin
most interesting are the aerial photographs taken in the united states, mexico, czechoslovakia, asia, and the middle east.
-emmet gowin: changing the earth, yale
-mariposas nocturnas - edith in panama, pace gallery

6. thierry despont
images of celestial bodies

7. michael flomen
more links: 1 2 3 4
photographs of snow covered landscapes.
"seeing light is a metaphor for seeing the invisible in the visible, for detecting the fragile imaginal garment that holds our planet and all existence together. once we have learned to see light, surely everything else will follow. --- Arthur Zajonc (catching the light: the entwined history of light and mind, bantam books)" from hasted hunt gallery's website

8. emil schumacher
german painter, draughtsman and ceramicist. look here for images.

9. gunter forg
more images 1 2

. tom marioni
examples of drawings.
"my first drum brush drawings are the result of rubbing and beating with steel wire drum brushes (like jazz drummers use) against a large sheet of sandpaper. the steel is transferred to the paper over a long period of time and the brushing on the sandpaper makes a rasping sound. the action is repetitive like that of a knife against a sharpening stone. the left hand makes a single arc, up and down, while the right hand moves in a circle-like motion in the shape of a violin or an artist's palette. over the years the drawings have changed only slightly, like handwriting changes as personality evolves. this becomes a kind of talking drumming, played on a hollow-core drawing board. the result is a pictorial record of the sound activity, a marriage of art and music. during a drawing/drumming session, because of the repetition of sound and action a trance state can occur and i can see elements of fantasy in the marks. to most people the results look like birds flying to the left." tom marioni
-beer, art and philosophy: the act of drinking beer with friends is the highest form of art, a memoir by tom marioni, by tom marioni and thomas mcevilley, crown point press
-writings on art 1969-1999, by tom marioni, crown point press

11. the films of stan brakhage
"struggle can appear as a tension between representation and abstraction, and this can even said to describe the text of light, in which patterns of refracted light seen through a crystal ash-tray become metaphors for landscapes......the light we do see almost always seems to be set against darkness........these momentary flickers that materialize tenuously out of emptiness." fred camper
-by brakhage: an anthology, criterion (though not the best selection of his work)
for a good list, see my previous blog
(some) books:
-light moving in time: studies in the visual aesthetics of avant-garde film, by william c. wees, univ. of california press
-film at wit's end: eight avant-garde filmmakers, by stan brakhage, mcpherson
-the brakhage lectures: georges méliès, david wark griffith, carl theodore dreyer, sergei eisenstein, by stan brakhage
-a moving picture giving and taking book, by stan brakhage, frontier press
-brakhage scrapbook: collected writings, 1964-1980, by stan brakhage, treacle press

12. the films of jurgen reble
film images here

13. gerhard richter
-gerhard richter (3 vols.), hatje cantz
-gerhard richter: painting in the nineties, anthony d'offay gallery
-gerhard richter: atlas of the photographs, collages and sketches, dap
-gerhard richter 1998, anthony d'offay gallery
-gerhard richter: watercolors 1964-1997, richter verlag
-gerhard richter: drawings 1964-1999, richter verlag
-gerhard richter: forty years of painting, moma
-gerhard richter: a private collection, richter verlag
-gerhard richter: landscapes, hatje cantz
-gerhard richter: catalogue raisonne 1993-2004, richter verlag
-gerhard richter: paintings 2003-2005, marian goodman gallery
-gerhard richter: documenta IX, 1992, marian goodman gallery
-gerhard richter: works on paper, walter konig

14. peter zumthor
swiss architect whose work has been photographed by helen binet and hans danuser.
buildings appropriate to the blog are: saint benedict chapel, gugalun house, thermal bath vals, kunsthaus bregenz.
-partituren und builder: architektonische aus dem atelier peter zumthor, 1985-1988, architekturgalerie luzerne
-peter sumthor: thermal bath at vals, aa publications
-peter zumthor: works. buildings and projects 1979-1997, lars muller
-a+u extra edition: peter zumthor, a+u
-peter zumthor: kunsthaus bregenz, kunsthaus bregenz
-zumthor: the spirit of nature in wood architecture award 2006, building information ltd.
-peter zumthor: therme vals, scheidegger & spiess

15. therese oulton

16. hans hartung
more images

17. robert motherwell

-the collected writings of robert motherwell, oxford univ. press
-robert motherwell: the complete prints 1940-1991 - a catalogue raisonné, hudson hills
-robert motherwell, by h.h. arnason, abrams
-robert motherwell: the dedalus sketchbooks, abrams

18. anne appleby
"although appleby’s paintings are composed of abstract panels each essentially a single color, she thinks of them as landscapes. She carefully observes particular plants or particular seasons and uses their colors as they grow and change in works that are particular to them." (from the crown point press website)

19. sol lewitt drawings

20. richard serra
(drawing/print related)
-richard serra: prints: catalogue raisonné 1972-1999, richter verlag
-richard serra: line drawings, gagosian gallery
-richard serra: large scale prints, addison gallery of american art
-serra + richard serra nables, museo archeologico nazionale
-richard serra: intersection, christoph merian verlag
-mel bochner/richard serra, hayden gallery mit
-the destruction of tilted arc: documents, mit
-serra: sculpture 1985-1987, the pace gallery, leo castelli
-richard serra: weight and measure, tate gallery
-richard serra: writings interviews, the univ. of chicago press

21. yutaka yoshinaga
more images
uses pigments, pastels and folded washi paper.

22. herman de vries
more images 1 2
-artists, land, nature, abrams

23. anish kapoor

24. richard chartier
"i have noticed that the things that influence my sound compositions the most have been visual. i think of sound in visual terms which stems from my education as a painter/designer. (and vice versa.. i often describe visual works with sound terms)" richard chartier.
-current, 2006
-incidence, 2006
-levels (inverted), 2006
-specification.fifteen (with taylor deupree), 2006
-tracing, 2005
-retrieval 1-5, 2004
-william basinski + richard chartier, 2004
(the earlier work i find to be too minimal)

25. lucio fontana
-lucio fontana: venice/new york, guggenheim museum
-lucio fontana, electa
-formless: a user's guide, by yve-alain bois and rosalind krauss, zone books

26. alberto burri
-formless: a user's guide, by yve-alain bois and rosalind krauss, zone books

27. jean degottex
-monochromes: from malevich to the present, by barbara rose, univ. of california press

28. angeles san jose
-monochromes: from malevich to the present, by barbara rose, univ. of california press

29. dario villalbo
-monochromes: from malevich to the present, by barbara rose, univ. of california press

30. martin kline
-monochromes: from malevich to the present, by barbara rose, univ. of california press

31. richard pousette-dart
highly concerned with the spiritual and the role of the unconscious.
more images
-monochromes: from malevich to the present, by barbara rose, univ. of california press
-richard pousette-dart, skira

32. david maisel
-the lake project, nazraeli press
-oblivion, nazraeli press