Malcolm Le Grice

still from Berlin Horse by Malcolm Le Grice, 1970

still from Berlin Horse by Malcolm Le Grice, 1970

Malcolm Le Grice: FINITI and other shorts …Sunday Nov 10 6:00pm


Full Program

9 minutes 1970 2 screens
Music by Brian Eno

Berlin Horse is based on two sequences – one shot originally in 8mm and re-filmed in 16mm – the other a piece of found early newsreel. The common subject is horses – a horse being exercised and horses being led from a burning stable. Both sequences were visually treated and transformed at the London Film Makers Cooperative.
The 8mm sequence was shot in the village of Berlin near Hamburg northern Germany. It was refilmed from the screen running the film at different speeds and directions and with the camera at different angles. Later it was re-coloured using theatrical lighting gelatins in the film-printer and subject to multiple superimposition. It was finally combined with early newsreel of horses being led from a burning barn. It is a poetic drama where the sequence of image transformations and the ‘narrative’ are integrated as the content. Where possible it is shown as a two screen projection and has been recently been developed as a looped gallery installation. The sound is an original track by Eno.

FINITI 45 minutes 2010 (single screen version 2013)
Video and Sound Le Grice

FINITI is a continuation of my Chronos project. Chronos in Greek mythology is the god of time who, it is said, gave birth to Chaos and Aither. In making the FINITI I have tried to develop a form where connections of meaning remain open, provisional, and temporary. These connections of experience -embodied in the images, sequences and sounds – are to remain only partially resolved or even completely unresolved – it is a work about questions not answers.
The title FINITI implies a constant awareness of impermanence of all that is part of our human life – the inevitability of their ultimate end – the decay of our memories – our personal death – the end of the earth through global catastrophe – the asteroid strike or the final fall of the earth into the sun and a dying sun in its galaxy. Though aware of our insignificance we continue to care as though it matters – to look for significance – to seek understanding through metaphor and allegory. I have long go abandoned narrative – its causal linearity is too simple to make sense of the inconsistencies of my life experience. Instead FINITI uses a concept of moments separated in a matrix – a multi-dimensional set of potential or latent connections.Here the time of connection does not correspond directly with the chronology of cause. Perhaps the physicists view of parallel universes – matter and anti-matter – the existence of events in two places at once – simultaneity not sequence – might help an understanding of this form. Of course there are identifiable themes and sections that explore a metaphor for memory through half-seen images. There are sections that explore movement as a partial metaphor for life passage. There are sections where the particular recorded moments drawn from my life are put into a juxtaposition with war and violence, sensuality and sexuality. In addition there is an aesthetic exploration of colour, and movement. FINITI is a provisional form, designed to retain uncertainty and latency of interpretation and an emotional, psychological and intellectual engagement in fleeting moments Like Joyce’s ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ I hope any interpretation of the whole is impossible. It stands for artistic experience over ideas.

FINITI is not about what I do know – it is about what I do not know.

DENISINED – SINEDENIS. 3 minutes 2006 3 screen
Music J S Bach digitally reconstructed by Le Grice

I sat with Dennis Oppenheim in Kassel and he gave me a working photograph of a drawing for his installation Mind-Twist-Wandering – I asked him to sign it for me – now in a little clip frame in my studio. While we talked I took four photographs on a very low resolution Palm organizer. I liked the pictures and made them into a repeating sequence 1-2-3-4-3-2-1-2…. and so on – a first level palindrome – then I copied the sequence at different levels of increasing speed until they animated – next I copied the whole sequence, reversed it to a second level palindrome. In a reference to Duchamp’s ANEMIC CINEMA – a partial palindromatic title – I devised the palindromatic front and end title (losing an N as there were too many! Sorry Dennis). I wanted a sound track and liked a Bach sonata – I put this on and treated the speed in the same way as the picture (holding the pitch level) – also I treated this as a palindrome – reversing it for the second part of the video. When I showed this to Steven Devleminck and discussed the palindrome he told me that Bach had written a palindromatic work known as the ‘Crab Cannon’. I then decided I would re-make the piece using this music which I located with the help of Al Rees and Nicky Hamlyn (who sent me a copy of the sheet music). I keyed the piece into my computer MIDI programme – and voiced it for strings – then treated it in the same way of speed changes and reverse repeats. The current version of the video has this constructed track. Another reference point is Forwards Backwards Minute Waltz by Ladislav Galeta. All this and it is only three minutes

SELF PORTRAIT – AFTER RABAN TAKE MEASURE 8 minutes 20 seconds 2008

Self Portrait looks for an approach to a specific relationship between the duration of a work and material conditions in the projection as did William Raban in the film-pereformance Take Measure. The main difference is that Raban’s work was made when cinematic media had distinct physical properties linking medium directly to image – this self portrait recognizes that there is no such simple materiality for cinema following the emergence of digital processes. Instead the work takes a conceptual base – the speed of light and the time taken for light to travel from the sun to illuminate objects on earth – thus the duration of 8 minutes 20 seconds.

Video and Music Le Grice

A punishment for digital theory that the artist must programme – every cheap visual effect in the editing package and a sound track made with free software from a corn-flakes packet – apologies to Oscar for all the hours he spent at the animation table

FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR K 1 minute 1995
For the Beatles and Franz Kafka – what has K’s small house to do with the Trial or the Castle?

ANTHONY DUNDEE 1 Minute 2004
Made from still images shot during an exhibition in Dundee, Scotland.

JONAS 3 minutes 2012
Music Mike Figgis and Rosie Chan

A short video portrait shot impromptu as Mekas himself videoed a performance by Figgis and Chan. Made during a 90th birthday party for Jonas.

ABSINTHE 1 minute video 2010

In October 2009 I did a show in Prague. I returned to the Kafka house of my ‘Benefit of Mr K’ but found the whole street and Castle area had become a tourist trap – so I wandered into the back-streets at the bottom of the hill and found a little local bar for a plate of sausage, mustard and strong brown bread. Intending to drink some wine I noticed that Absinthe was included in the drinks list so ordered it. I admitted to the bar-keeper that I had never had it before and he showed me how it should be mixed and flamed with sugar – and I recorded with my pocket video camera. With a little gesture to Picasso and Degas, I became the Absinthe Drinker.

UNFORGETTABLE (THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE) 5 minutes 2006 1 screen

Four generations with shared genes in the matriarchal line – responding to the camera.This work began as an installation that has been reworked for single screen.

Sunday 10 November, 6:00pm

Brooklyn Fire Proof Gallery
119 Ingraham Street, Bushwick
Suggested Donation $8

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