The Centre of Attention at Wiltons Music Hall
The 13 films in this programme represent 13 artists from around
the world (Argentina, Germany, Canada, United States, Ireland, France,
Italy, Britain). These artists and these films have nothing in common
to all appearances, other than they caught the attention,appealed
intellectually, emotionally or mysteriously to the Curator of the
Alas having said that, the vanity of the Curator is another matter:
though he has indicated that there is something of great importance
which links the 13 artists and their films, what that may be, and
on what level; on how many levels… the Curator has been reluctant
to inform me.
I found this to be a very unsatisfying and indeed unprofessional
stance to assume. This led me onto a path I was reluctant to pursue.
But in the name of Art and in the spirit of Nietzsche’s superman
(or Dostoievsky’s Rodi), I proclaimed myself above the law of men
and forced my entry into the apartment of the Curator. There I looked
for relevant material.
Only a few fragment pertaining to the matter of the Wiltons Music
Hall exhibition could be found, however. Some scribbled notes. You
may, like me, find them unhelpful. What else I discovered on that
night, I cannot say yet. Still, the fragments are recorded below
and I wish you luck in finding sense in them.
The Sunday Conceptualist
It is the pointless things that make life worth living.
“Art tolerates no dullness” Whistler
“those who think, enjoy walking in the shadows. Their minds feel
at ease there as if they were in their element” (???)
A concerted effort to move away from the practice of confusing purity
with the sublimated / to move away from the received aesthetic of
the art film
To avoid: formal reductionism, a denial of visual pleasure. Patience
testing, boredom and a literalism which exasperates
These films challenge the anti visual nature of the majority of
art film and its denial of pleasure in general.
A boring film requiring your time and investment to then provide
no payback is rarely done well, and indeed of little interest outside
the artist’s endeavours at centering oneself.
There are of course the pious pleasures of punishment, torture or
humiliation on which many formal films play on. Why sublimate these
pleasures while disparaging others more joyous or exuberant?
These films by these artists challenge the post structuralist connoisseur’s
position by being an alternative to the aesthetic they understand.
A works that seduces, gives pleasure (/pain) does not mean that
the work is empty of intellectual investment by the artist. Although
this is often the assumption. This concern to be seen as intellectual
or even conceptual has seen the artist of the past embark on attempts
to purge their work of all that did not convey and signify serious,
worthy, intellectual. Intellectualism, conceptualism, integrity
and seriousness of purpose is signified by making boring, stilted,
dreary film and video work. And it is sad that in the present climate
it does remain enough.
That a film, combination of sound, idea, duration and image, may
provide a pleasure at a non intellectual level for the viewer is
always frowned upon. The results test the bounds of patience and
The artists and the films shown at Wiltons avoid these pitfalls.