In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the death of Andy Warhol – arguably the most influential artist of the late 20th century – a select number of his films will be on exhibit for the first time in Southeast Asia. Curated by artist Yason Banal and Geralyn Huxley, curator of film & video at The Andy Warhol Museum, this exhibition focuses on the artist’s seminal motion and moving pictures, from his structuralist masterpieces Empire, Sleep and Chelsea Girls to the conceptual experiments in portraiture such as the Screen Tests, Blow Job and Outer and Inner Space, as well as explorations into narrative, celebrity and archive via Imitation of Christ and Factory Diaries. The installation Silver Clouds, traversing cinema and sculpture, performance and philosophy, hovers above the exhibition.
From the time he obtained his first film camera in 1963 until his death in 1987, Warhol produced nearly 650 films that capture the cultural milieu in which he lived and worked as the cool and curious coterie of friends and acquaintances, hanging on and hanging out at his New York studio factory became the cast and the subject of his work. Warhol’s Cinema is unique; projecting from film’s grave with video transfers on to digital media, dexterous and shadowy, shy and shining, looming over and nudging Hollywood and avant-garde tastes with one minimal and durational serial-copy after another. Much like his paintings, sculptures and activities, Warhol’s Cinema inter-faces various themes, styles and worlds and has never been more powerful and illuminating – its phantasmatic glamour, perverse aesthetic and conceptual brevity continue to maintain and pass through contemporary pop life, lying between hellos and goodbyes, staying still and moving on in space and time.
Date: 16 December 2012, 1:00-3:00pm
Moderators: Yason Banal (Artist and Curator)
Cosmin Costinas (Executive Director/Curator of Para/Site Art Space)
Talkers: Eric Shiner (Director of The Andy Warhol Museum)
Giorgio Biancorosso (Associate Professor, Music Department,
The University of Hong Kong)
Ming Wong (Artist)
Cao Fei (Artist)
Sandy Ma (Specialist in Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Christie’s)
Roger Garcia (Executive Director, Hong Kong International Film Festival Society)
To accompany the screenings we believe it is vital to stage a live discussion, and by a variety of voices at that, of Warhol’s films. This is because no single body of film work responds to the circumstances of reception as productively, and unpredictably, as Warhol’s films do. To screen a Warhol film is to ‘perform’ it and to discuss it is not simply to play or re-play it but to reactivate its haunting presence. Our round table, therefore, will not consist of a reading of scripted texts but rather the re-working of ideas and impressions not only in the presence of others but also, and just as important, the presence of the films themselves in the gallery. The films are porous and call for endless remakes, as it were; this turns the audience into makers of a sort.
For all their vulnerability to the vagaries of individual response and specific venues, the films also confront us with some hard facts – prime among them is the materiality of the medium. Be it the film, light, surface, or projection apparatus, we are time and again made aware of the arte-factual nature of the people, objects, and places we see (and hear) on the screen. The effect can be hilarious, veer toward the prosaic, or verge on the sublime, as when the objecthood of a prop or the reality of an emotion recorded by the camera hit us with unremitting force. Nothing can negotiate the liminal space between the material and the immaterial, and put it to a test, as a much as a live discussion among people in the flesh.
Central to this live discussion of Warhol’s work is also its locale - Hong Kong. For the time seems ripe, not only for echoing here in Hong Kong some of the ideas germinating around Warhol’s film work but jump in as agents of change. That is why we aim to create a dialogue among some of the people closest to the geographical and spiritual center of Warhol’s art – New York – but also cast them alongside artists, curators, and market representatives who, while deeply aware of, or indebted to, Warhol’s legacy, are based in Asia.