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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Artists and film

Che Lovelace and Peter Doig are lovers of film, without question. Yet I wonder: do they love film enough to have ever thought about making a film themselves?

Artists making films is not a new phenomenon. In 1929 Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel teamed up to concoct Un Chien Andalou; Bunuel went on to become the founding father of surrealist cinema, and is righty considered one of the great filmmakers.

But artists who moonlight as filmmakers--do they know what they're doing? How is their work to be judged? These and other questions the UK Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw ponders in this article.

Bradshaw certainly has a few complaints about artists encroaching on the territory of filmmakers, but overall is quite happy for the two worlds to mix: "There are brilliant artists working in film who are challenging us to think again about how we look at images, and the circumstances in which these images can be considered - and challenging film critics, too, to refine their visual judgments.... Even the simplest, least showy video installation piece... can be valuable in that, in just showing something in a gallery context in which the viewer is encouraged to look patiently at an image, it can defamiliarise and force us to look at things afresh. This is part of what the video and film art has to offer cinema - and cinema buffs."

The use of film and video in art is fairly universal now. In fact, Phil Collins, one of the nominees for this year's Turner Prize works heavily in video. One of his most (in)famous pieces is an eight-hour disco marathon, shot in one take, in Palestine.

Art it may be. But is it film? I'm not so sure.


Anonymous Sophie said...

So I am trying to imagine you reading this aloud. The emphasis indicated by italicizing 'making' for example. Hmmmn. Yes, okay - got it.

11:57 PM  

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