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Frieze Film Touring Programme

7.30pm Thursday 8 December

A selection of the short films by leading contemporary artists commissioned
by Frieze Foundation.

Frieze Art Fair is an international contemporary art fair which takes place every October in London. It features more than 170 contemporary art galleries, and includes specially commissioned artists’ projects.

Every year since 2005 Frieze Foundation has commissioned a series of new short films by leading contemporary artists, from those who had never worked with film before through to established filmmakers. The films have been premiered at Frieze Art Fair, and subsequently screened at cinemas and festivals around the world. The Frieze Film touring programme brings together a selection of these commissions for the first time, and offers a unique snapshot of contemporary approaches to the moving image.

The programme includes work by Miguel Calderón, Bonnie Camplin, Jess Flood-Paddock, Linder, Shahryar Nashat, Elizabeth Price, Wilhelm Sasnal, Stephen Sutcliffe and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul
The Anthem
2006 5 mins
The Thai ritual of playing the royal anthem before a feature film presentation in order to honour the king was the point of departure for Weerasethakul’s 35mm film commission for The Artists Cinema. This ceremonial procedure is one of hundreds that take place on a daily basis in Thailand as part of a culture that is both religious and superstitious. The Anthem (2006) was conceived in this vein as a blessing, to take place at the beginning of each screening.

Shahryar Nashat
2010 10 mins 50 secs
Shahryar Nashat's new video continues his desire-inflected dialogue with the art of others, further examining how mediation, display and techniques of reproduction produce variegated meanings. The colour-coded video negotiates an unattainable, idiosyncratic collection of striking works by artists Nairy Baghramian, Julian Göthe, Hilary Lloyd and Luigi Ontani, assembled only for the purposes of the video.

Stephen Sutcliffe
Writer in Residence 
2010 5 mins
Writer in Residence continues Sutcliffe’s interest in collage as a means by which to shake certainty and to surreptitiously undermine. Sutcliffe poses the melancholic hallucination that is Adrian Leverkühn’s meeting with the Devil in Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus (1947) in direct counterpoint to the conception of ‘positive existentialism’ presented by Colin Wilson in his novel The Outsider (1956) – a philosophical standpoint that was, in turn, developed through Wilson’s own critique of Leverkühn’s meeting with the Devil. Sutcliffe thus returns to his characteristic theme of (artistic) self-doubt, expressed in terms of a monologist’s interior dialogue, which extracts symptoms and provides prognoses, remedies and worst-case scenarios.

Elizabeth Price
The Tent
2010 9 mins
The Tent is a new narrative video derived from a single book, Systems (1972). The book is the film’s sole visual subject and the only resource for its graphic narration. Indeed, every aspect of the video including the soundtrack, has been extorted from the different properties – and possibilities – of the book. Published by the Arts Council, Systems was a catalogue accompanying an exhibition of works by artists associated with the eponymous 1970s British group: Richard Allen, John Ernest, Malcolm Hughes, Colin Jones, Michael Kidner, Peter Lowe, James Moyes, David Saunders, Geoffrey Smedley, Jean Spencer, Jeffrey Steel and Gillian Wise Ciobotaru. It features drawings and documentation of art works, as well as photographs of, and an extended text by, each of the artists included.

Jess Flood-Paddock
Island – A Regime
2010 3 mins 10 secs
Island, A Regime is a new video work filmed on a mobile phone. The non-linear narrative tone throughout aims to create a mood associated with travelling and observing. The unseen traveller and watcher who is also the video-maker, is an implied presence – a private and secretive observer who records ‘the sites’. The work attempts to provide a counterpoint to the often laborious process of filmmaking – involving tripods, grips and re-takes – by focusing on idleness, leisure and simple means.

Wilhelm Sasnal
2007 3 mins 5 secs
Originally made on 16mm Europa (2007), Sasnal’s commission for Frieze Film, is an inherently structuralist film, its contents in part defined by its prescribed three-minute duration. Featuring white, caption-like text on a black background, the first half of the film comprises a series of descriptions of the film stock on which it was shot, its material properties and where it was produced, how the rest of film will be structured and when the soundtrack will start.

Bonnie Camplin 
Special Afflictions by Roy Harryhozen
2006 5 mins 29 secs
In Special Afflictions by Roy Harryhozen (2006), commissioned by Frieze Projects and The Artists Cinema, Camplin invests her protagonists with a similar capability for disruption. Inspired by Jack Cardiff’s British horror movie The Mutations (1970), in which a crackpot scientist attempts to fuse humans with strains of plant life, Camplin’s film describes a quintessentially British drawing-room play in which a group of fairground performers have each been inflicted with a cinematic special effect; these technological interventions, while altering each character’s behaviour seemingly beyond their control, interrupts the filmic space and isolates each character in a world of their own self-conscious reflection.

Miguel Calderón 
Guest of Honour
2006 6 mins 6 secs
Guest of Honor (2006) follows a family one Sunday afternoon as they head into the woods for a picnic; befriending a young deer on their excursion, the family enjoy and encourage the new addition to their party until the animal’s overactive bowel movements put an unpleasant end to their rural outing. Interrupting the banal with the fantastic and absurd, Guest of Honor encapsulates Calderón’s irreverent collapsing of hierarchies and genres in favour of a wilfully irrational vision of contemporary society.

Forgetful Green
2010 21 mins
"Like every work I make, my new film Forgetful Green is taken from a location defined by John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) as "the most dangerous place in all these parts." Bunyan describes the tale as being "delivered under the similitude of a dream," and my early arrival at a rose field in Colchester in mid-July, directly after my 13-hour performance The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME (2010), seemed wholly dreamlike… ..."