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Friday 22 January 2010

Aesthetica Short Film Competition: Encouraging and promoting artists’ film

A prominent element of our recently launched Short Film Competition is the promotion of inspirational and innovative work. We at Aesthetica want to drive the genre of short film forward, and as part of this objective we hope to encourage submissions from a range of genres by both experienced and aspiring filmmakers.

One category of film we are excited to encounter is artist’s film, which has gained heightened recognition in Britain over the last decade. The use of film and video by artists has made a significant impression in the world of expanded cinema, impacting upon experimental film and wider art practices.

Soho Shorts Film Festival, a partner of the Aesthetica Short Film Competition, has a history of exhibiting and supporting artist’s film. Sandra Hebron, member of the Soho Shorts judging panel, is the Head of Festivals at the British Film Institute and Artistic Director of the Times BFI London Film Festival. Sandra has worked in independent film exhibition for more than 15years and is currently the Chairperson of Lux, a London based organisation that specialises in the distribution of artists’ film and video:

“LUX exists to provide access to, and develop audiences for, artists' moving image work; to provide professional development support for artists working with the moving image; and to contribute to and develop discourse around practice.”

Lux was founded in 2002 and is currently the only organisation of its kind in the UK. The company represents the UK’s only significant collection of artists’ film and video and is also the largest distributor of such work in Europe, representing around 4500 works by artists from the 1920s to the present day. The key activities of the company are that of distribution, exhibition and publishing, alongside commissioning new art works and research support for curators and academics.

The organisation is particularly concerned with visual arts-based moving image, including experimental film, video art, installation art, performance art, personal documentary, essay films and animation. By visiting the Lux website, users can access the Screening Room, which houses an archive of artists’ film to view online for free.

In the US, British street artist Banksy will be premiering his first film at the Sundance Film Festival. It was announced yesterday that his work, Exit through the Gift Shop, will be screened for the first time on the 24th January. Over the last few days it has been reported that perplexing street art has appeared on buildings throughout Utah, home town of the Sundance Film Festival.

The film portrays a Los Angeles-based French filmmaker who documents the mysterious world of street art in Europe and the US. Referred to as a part personal journey and part expose of the art world, the film is an amalgamation of reality and fiction and includes footage of underground artists such as Shepard Fairey, with actor Rhys Ifans providing the narrative. Having never been officially photographed, the famously secretive artist remains anonymous, supposedly even to the agent who promoted the film at the festival.

To view a trailer of the film click here.

For those interested in street art a free downloadable pdf of Street Scene: urban art & graffiti artists from issue 15 can be downloaded by clicking here.

Through the Aesthetica Short Film Competition we would like to champion films from a variety of creators and look forward to those entries from artists and experimental film producers. We hope to have an example of visual artists’ film and video work in the semi-finals, so spread the word or get creating!

The competition offers the winner and runners-up a fantastic prize package, which will bring your films to a wider audience. The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2010. All winners will be notified by 31 May 2010 and the DVD will be released 1 August 2010.

Pavel Bϋchler wins Northern Art Prize

The winner of the Northern Arts Prize 2010 has been announced as Pavel Bϋchler. Work by the five short listed artists was judged yesterday by a leading panel of specialists from the visual arts world: Patricia Bickers, editor at Art Monthly; Richard Deacon, artist; Paul Hobson, director, Contemporary Art Society; Peter Murray, director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and panel chair Tanja Pirsig-Marshall. In choosing Bϋchler to win the prize they felt that:

“Bϋchler has been consistently influential to a huge amount of people throughout his career, as a practitioner and teacher. We were particularly impressed with Eclipse which we felt to be a very strong piece of work. We would also like to congratulate all the shortlisted artists on their contributions to the exhibition; the success of the prize continues to enhance the contemporary visual arts scene in the North.”

Bϋchler, born in Prague and now living in the North West, was presented with a cheque for £16,500 by judge and artist Richard Deacon at a packed awards event held last night at Leeds Art Gallery. Bϋchler displayed seven of his most recent pieces, three of which have never been shown before, in the Northern Art Prize exhibition.

As opposed to constructing objects, Bϋchler utilizes materials found in the real world and manipulates them to “reveal the strangeness in everyday life. He often juxtaposes objects to create witty visual puns and metaphors and narrative riddles, in which text, embedded in the work or in the title, plays an important role.” His work has been exhibited widely internationally and across the UK and more recently in solo shows at Street Level, Glasgow (2009) and objectif / Museum Van Hdendaagse Kunst, Antwerp (2007).

Bϋchler’s Eclipse is a technically simple, but conceptually complex, installation inspired by the poetics of an everyday analogy in science education. The work consists of nine 1950s Leitz Prado projectors casting circles of light on a wall, evoking the structure of the solar system. Found balls and other spherical objects inserted into the optics of the projectors create the effect of several overlapping eclipses that alternate between light and dark depending on how the visitors to the exhibition move about within the piece.

You Don’t Love Me is an installation that uses a reel to reel tape deck, a bottle of whisky and a loop of found audio tape. The concept behind the work was brought about when Bϋchler was listening to the tape, a bootleg recording of a 1970s live gig. The recording was discovered in the tape deck shortly after its purchase, and upon playing it a lone voice is heard, which announces the eponymous title of the coming song.

Bϋchler and his fellow short listed artists, Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson,Rachel Goodyear and Matt Stokes, who each received prize money of £1,500, have been showing their work at Leeds Art Gallery since the 27th November 2009. The exhibition includes several film pieces, installations of technical equipment and everyday objects, as well as intricate pencil and watercolour drawings, making this the most varied and complex Prize exhibition yet.

The Northern Art Prize is a prestigious art prize for contemporary artists of any age, working in any media and living in the North of England (North West, North East and Yorkshire regions). Sponsors of The Northern Art Prize are Logistik, Arup, Leeds City Council and Leeds Metropolitan University. New Leeds hotel City Inn, a keen supporter of the arts, is also supporting the prize for the first time this year as event sponsor.

The Northern Art Prize exhibition runs at Leeds Art Gallery until 21 February 2010.

For more information about the artists visit:

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