7 May – 14 June 2009
This Serpentine Gallery exhibition is the first major UK presentation of the respected film artist and musician Luke Fowler a central figure in Glasgow’s vibrant art scene.
Fowler’s experimental films focus on meticulously researched subjects, including vanguard thinkers and counter-cultural figures, such as maverick psychologist R.D. Laing, post-punk musician Xentos ‘Fray’ Bentos, the conservationist Bogman Palmjaguar and the English composer Cornelius Cardew, a founding member of the Scratch Orchestra.
The films some of which use documentary footage from the late 60’s cover issues very relevant to today with the collapse of the global financial markets, whats life about? what are we looking for? and what is normal?
Fowler knowingly references his precursors in film and documentary making. Combining new and archival footage, interviews and photography with densely-layered soundtracks, his work presents a critical response to the idea that documentary film can offer us a single objective truth.
However, Fowler moves beyond simply referencing the work of his predecessors. Intuitively applying the logic, aesthetics and politics of his subjects onto the film he is constructing about them, he creates atmospheric, sampled histories that reverberate with the vitality of the people he studies.
Key works include Pilgrimage From Scattered Points (2006), which focuses on the English composer Cornelius Cardew, whose avant-garde Scratch Orchestra celebrated the idea that ‘anyone can play’. In this work, Fowler examines the conflicts that developed within the group which led up to it disbanding, combining archival video clips, photographs, interviews and previously unreleased music recordings.
The Nine Monads of David Bell (2006) is an investigation into the world of David Bell, a resident of the psychiatric refuge Kingsley Hall, which was set up by rebel psychiatrist R.D. Laing. Fowler’s installation includes audio recordings that document the changing psychological states of Bell, as well as a film of re-enactments of Bell’s dreams. The installation includes a variety of works on paper, newspapers, which Bell used as writing paper, his notebooks, and photographs of Bell and other residents of Kingsley Hall.
The exhibition also includes a highlight of the 3rd Yokohama Triennial, Composition for Flutter Screen (2008). A collaborative work with Japanese sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda, the film focuses on simple objects or phenomena seen under continually changing conditions. This new work, re-configured especially for the Serpentine Gallery, represents a new direction in Fowler’s use of sound and the moving image.
The exhibition is curated by Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, and Sophie O’Brien, Curator, Serpentine Gallery.
The Times Review :LINK
Picture Credit:Luke Fowler Pilgrimage from Scattered Points 2006 Hard drive and projector 45 the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow© 2009 Luke Fowler