I aim to keep a fairly complete record of the moving image art that is worth a comment. Here is a summary of some of the works I’ve seen in 2017 that have not been covered elsewhere on mialondonblog.
David Fernando Giraut, The Accursed Stare, 2017 Digital animation film at Tenderpixel Gallery
I am finding the fashion for films analysing art history is starting to a wearing a bit thin. The artworld incestousness feels rather claustrophobic. However this added one interesting insight – that paleolithic art remained unchanged in style and content for thousands of years. So what is driving the present pace of change? The time scale covered, from cave paintings through the Renaissance to today, was impressive but perhaps too ambitious in its scope to be digestible.
Jaki Irvine, If the Ground Should Open… , 2016, at Frith Street Gallery, Golden Square
Eight channel black and white video installation on standard sized monitors. This was my kind of music video with echos of Reichian style use of the spoken word as musical content. Samples of spoken audio from a notorious leaked Anglo-Irish bankers phone conversation in which they talk cynically about how they conned the government are edited in staccato repetition to highlight their nervous complicity. Irvine’s own lyrics celebrate the female activists in the 1916 Irish Easter Rising and she uses Irish folk instrumentation played by an all female ten-piece band (bagpipes, fiddle, cello etc) to provide a surreal counterpoint to the macho posturing of the bankers.
Anna Bunting-Branch The Labours of Barren House-The Linguists at Jerwood Space
Helpful exposure of the idea that language is literally manmade and excludes the female construction of meaning. Laadan is a constructed language by the feminist linguist Suzette Haden Elgin that aims to remedy this with its own vocabulary and grammar that was used in her speculative fiction trilogy Native Tongue. Unfortunately the video did no more than publicise this innovation and shed no light onto why it has failed to catch on.
John Latham at Serpentine Gallery
I feel he was the U.K’s Robert Rauschenberg. The sixties encouraged artists with eclectic interests to roam widely, so they dabbled in various styles and media which led the way for others to develop. Lathham’s video work was just one element of his experimentation including a quirky take on public school types strutting in the London stock exchange before the invasion of the 80’s Romford market wideboys. I prefer his sculptural work with scorched and paint-spattered books and his destructive performance artworks. His theory on Flat Time was a bit unnecessary and a distraction from his art. He should have left it to the cosmologists.
Wael Shawkey, Telemach Crusades, 2009, at Lisson Gallery
A two-minute film featuring Bedouin children riding donkeys along a beach approaching a North African fort. Colourful, atmospheric and slightly unsettling but with no coherent narrative.
Christian Jankowski, Director Poodle, 1998, at Lisson Gallery
A ten minute black and white video that sees the magician transform a German gallery director into a poodle who then wanders around the gallery with a kind of skittish curiosity. A great parody of gallery pseuds.