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  • Delphi Campbell

Sculptural Film @ Modern Art Oxford

This basement screening presented the work of British experimental filmmakers, using photochemical processes to utilise the material of film in sculptural ways.


I thoroughly enjoyed this; the line-up of all women did not disappoint and each work shown brought a little something different to the programme.

My two favourites were easily Jenny Okun's Still Life (1976), and Tina Keane's Faded Wallpaper (1988).


Still Life, was a visual masterpiece. It was so enticing and I couldn't take my eyes off it, almost desperate for a running time longer than Okun's six-minute limitation. The programme schedule provided aptly writes "it is easy to read symbolic interpretation … but equally important to let it have it's aesthetic effect". I was mesmerised by the painting, pouring and dipping actions in the film and for once interested in a still life.



Tina Keane's Faded Wallpaper properly stimulated my brain. At first I was filled with a strange uneasiness, but I found the voiceover-ed sections absolutely heavenly, and over the 20 minutes span of the video my mind span around a million ideas in response. My notes from the session include ideas about holes, mouths, and disturbed patterns. It's been some time since I was last truly set alight by a piece and it was nice to come across something in a medium and a movement I'm unfamiliar with.

Dresden Dynamo, by Lis Rhodes, was made through a process I find fascinating. The image is printed onto the space in the film the audio would typically go, before going through the sound detector and translating into the noise we hear.

Meanwhile, Vicky Smith's My Moon Her World, has a gorgeous aesthetic which at times reminded me of the German expressionism I most associate (tragically) with Tim Burton. The style of the black and white illustrations was wonderful and the pieces is absolutely beautiful.

The last work in programme was another one I enjoyed, the only piece made this century, Sitting on a Man by Onyeka Igwe. The framing in the film was stunning and I enjoyed the use of paneling alongside the colliding narratives and audio. Igwe's piece was a worthy modern addition to the collection of work from the 20th century.


Overall, the concept of Film as Sculpture is one I'm a big fan of, and if nothing else, this event reinvigorated a love.

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