The De La Warr Pavilion is pleased to announce Film Works by John Stezaker, presenting three films – Horse (2012), Crowd (2013) and Cathedral (2013) – for the first time in a UK public institution.
The films are made up of a vast amount of the artist’s personal collection of film stills (Crowd), postcards (Cathedral) and racehorse catalogues (Horse), re-photographed and projected in a random sequence at 24 images per second without sound.
These ‘still’ films are anything but still. In standard analogue cinema projection, the illusion of spatial continuity and impression of motion is created by the frame rate of 24 per second with an incremental difference between frames. No such relation exists between the frames of these films as individual frame differs, which leaves the viewer blind to any comprehensive narrative. As human eyes and brain can process up to 10-12 separate images per second, the fast paced disparate images in these films create a spectacle of discontinuity. Gradually, however, after yielding to the immersive experience, the intensity begins to settle into a dream-like space of estranged after-images; each viewing and repeat viewing rewards a different experience. The experience of the isolated images in the films and those of the collages and image fragments that Stezaker is known for are a lot closer than one would expect. Speed and stillness seem in this respect to be different ways of withdrawing the film images from its narrative legibility and temporality.
Photographed identically in conformity with fixed image specifications, the image source for Horse is an annual publication advertising racehorses for stud. Looped in the order of their appearance from the first publication in 1984 through to when the ‘Stallion Annual’ changed format in 2001, the film represents an accelerated genetic history of the racehorse.
Horse and Cathedral are concerned with creating singular images within multiplicity – in reverse to Muybridge’s galloping horse which create stillness and singularity within flux and multiplicity, it is a shuddering Parkinsonian proximity to stillness which is achieved. Selected predominantly views down the central isles of churches and cathedrals, Cathedral is an attempt to explore the cinematic effect of a less stable central object of attention than Horse by embracing a bigger range of pictorial variation.
Crowd is built with a collection of film stills of crowd scenes. It is a crowd of crowds, a space of multiplicity so overwhelming that it becomes a space of disappearance. George Didi-Huberman describes the ‘extra’ as a threshold figure whose appearance functions as a kind of disappearance; the crowd of extras represents a semi visible background against which the star appears. Crowd explores this threshold between appearance and disappearance.
For further information and images please contact Sally Ann Lycett, Director of External Relations, on firstname.lastname@example.org and +44 (0)1424 229137.
Notes To Editors
John Stezaker: Film Works, 2 May – 19 July 2015, De La Warr Pavilion, Marina, Bexhill on Sea East Sussex TN40 1DP. Open everyday 10am – 6pm. Free admission. For further information call 01424 229111 or visit www.dlwp.com
John Stezaker was born in 1949 in England. He studied at the Slade School of Art 1967–1973. Stezaker has been centrally influential in a number of developments in art over the last four decades; from Conceptual Art, New Image Art through to a more recent interest in collage amongst the younger generation of British artists. Showing first as a part of the British Conceptual Art group in The New Art, 1972 (the first Hayward Annual), Stezaker’s interest in the concept soon gave way to a long-term fascination with the image, finding new aesthetic allegiances with the image through working with found photographs and printed matter. This fascination is translated into alterations, deletions, visual concordances and juxtapositions of disparate sources, intuitively creating new images, relationships, characters and meanings. Solo exhibitions in recent years have included the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2013), The Whitechapel Gallery, London (2011) then touring to MUDAM, Luxembourg and Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (2012), Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2010), A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia, Italy (2008), GAK Bremen, Germany (2008). He won Deutsche Börse photography award in 2012. www.theapproach.co.uk/artists/stezaker/
Crowd (2013) is short-listed for the International Competition at Kino der Kunst 2015, Munich. www.kinoderkunst.de/web/en/john-stezaker-crowd/___eventId/84/event-detail.html
The De La Warr Pavilion is Grade One Listed modernist icon for the contemporary arts, situated on the seafront in Bexhill on Sea. Opened in 1935, it remains true to its original principals as a pioneering place where people matter and a catalyst for the cultural regeneration of the region. The Pavilion celebrates its 80th anniversary2015-2016 and is a registered charity supported by Arts Council England, Rother District Council as well as other trusts, foundations and individual donations. www.dlwp.com