The artist shoots on an open set for her new film inspired by 70s Italian motifs and American superrealism at Hoxton's IBID Projects
This summer, artist Anthea Hamilton will be taking over the IBID Projects gallery alongside collaborative projects with Prem Sahib and Ariella Yedgar. Devised as an ‘Open Set’, the project is not so much an 'exhibition' as such, but will be used as a space for her new film set, where sections of footage produced there will form part of Hamilton's forthcoming piece for this year's Frieze Film commission.
The film borrows motifs from her sculptural practice, influenced by medieval courtly love, Italian design of the 1970s, American Superrealism, Venice and Disco. Filming will take place throughout the three-week period, but due to the nature of the scenes it may not be permissible to view the set at all times.
Dazed Digital: What are the benefits of using the concept of an 'open set' to take over the gallery?
Anthea Hamilton: 'Open Set' is by nature flexible and encourages collaborations: during my tenure Prem Sahib will present Wakefield Poole's 'Bijou' (1972) and Ariella Yedgar has curated 'A space without a use' that shows concurrently. Conversations with them both have informed the project, it's wonderful to work with them on this open platform. For making it's the best of both worlds: relaxed enough to encourage trying out new things, work in an improvised way as in the studio but as a gallery tends towards being a more formal space I remain objective about what I see in front of me all the time.
DD: How have you found dealing with this nature of an open set so far? Has it been difficult?
Anthea Hamilton: People seeing work in progress is fine - the worry was having viewers enter and think it was a finished exhibition, it's not a show. So far people have really had an understanding and responded to the project in the manner it was offered. Ariella Yedgar's exhibition is based on a synonymous Perec text and takes into consideration the history of the building, it's clear the whole space is being made the most of for it's unconventional qualities.
DD: Is it a chance for people to gain a behind the scenes viewpoint of the filming process?
Anthea Hamilton: There's a mythology to what film-making looks like, a very particular aesthetic - cables, lights, clapperboards etc - there's a certain satisfaction to see those objects in real life. 'Desire' is an important medium in my work and a lot of the time in the space is spent looking at how to capture objects in a way that will create the same satisfying physical knowledge of them as images so the cameras aren't rolling the whole time.
DD: Can you tell us more about your forthcoming piece for this year's Frieze Film commission?
Anthea Hamilton: It's the first steps towards bringing to a body of research into a wide mix of modes of looking: medieval courtly love, Italian architecture and design from the 1970's, Allen Jones, Happenings and 1960's performance, superrealist painting and I'm trying to make sense of it all by using the two themes of Venice and the Disco - but on suitably abstracted terms. Working in moving image makes these things 'live' rather than an archive, resolutely in the present rather than rooting themselves in nostalgia. (Everything becomes a character somehow) It will be a mixture of live footage and animation with the leg motif that regularly features in my practice becoming a transitional device between scenes. It follows from 'Calypsos', 2009, an animation made with Nicholas Byrne for Studio Voltaire.
DD: What will this exhibition lead to next?
Anthea Hamilton: The film project marks a new cycle of work and themes. The residency asked it's participants to respond to a piece of classical or contemporary dance and I chose 'You Should be Dancing' from Saturday Night Fever, coincidentally same time it took John Travolta to learn the dance to the Bee Gees song. Willfully opting for glam de-politicization of the self, Disco offered a democratic platform for personal display, purposefully lightweight it thumbed the nose at Modernism’s ‘less is more’ - offering neither an alternative nor endorsement, asserting instead the strength of ambiguity. That's the ideology. Eight months looks a good time to use disco to sort them out.
Ongoing until 20th August, IBID Projects, 35 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN