To the Winged Distance: Programme 4

Date: 11 February 2007 | Season: Robert Beavers 2007

Sunday 11 February 2007, at 3pm
London Tate Modern

Robert Beavers, Palinode, 1970/2001, 16mm, colour, sound, 21 min
In Palinode, a disk-shaped matte continually shifting in and out of focus alternately blocks part of the image or contains it. Its respiratory rhythm matches operatic fragments of Wladimir Vogel’s ‘Wagadu’, as the camera studies a middle-aged male singer in Zurich, singing, eating, window shopping, meeting a young girl. The filmmaker told himself, “Don’t let yourself know what that film is about while you are making it.” (P. Adams Sitney, Film Comment)

Robert Beavers, Diminished Frame, 1970/2001, 16mm, b/w & colour, sound, 24 min
There is in Diminished Frame a balance between a sense of the past seen in the views of West Berlin, filmed in black & white and a sense of the present in which I film myself showing how the colour is being created by placing filters in the camera’s aperture. It is the space of the city and of the filmmaker. I searched for signs of war’s aftermath and a few moments of ordinary existence. (Robert Beavers)

Robert Beavers, The Painting, 1972/1999, 16mm, colour, sound, 13 min
The Painting intercuts shots of traffic navigating the old-world remnants of downtown Bern, Switzerland, with details from a 15th-century altarpiece, The Martyrdom of St. Hippolytus. The painting shows the calm, near-naked saint in a peaceful landscape, a frozen moment before four horses tear his body to pieces while an audience of soigné nobles looks on; in the movie’s revised version, Beavers gives it a comparably rarefied psychodramatic jolt, juxtaposing shots of Gregory Markopoulos, bisected by shafts of light, with a torn photo of himself and the recurring image of a shattered windowpane. (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice)