rodney graham

There were 2 art works by Rodney Graham, a Canadian artist, in the Hamberger Bahnhof both of which I really enjoyed.  Both were short films, shot on what appeared to be 35mm and projected by large smooth running complicated loop machines.

Both were beautifully simple ideas.

The first was a single long film take of a chandelier, the chain on which it hanged had been twisted round and round as much as possble.  The film starts as the chandelier is released and goes flying round unspinnning itself, and lasts until it is completely still again.  That sense of waiting to be ‘still’, with all the energy slowly working its way out, just great.

The second piece, a 10 minute film, was a series of 20 second still shots of a precision made german manual typewriter, with the shots taken from different angles.  At first you could be fooled into thinking this was a series slides, but then it appears to start snowing and that is quite clearly moving image film.  It isn’t snow, the artist drops flour on to the machine as if it were snow, until the machine has alsmost disappeared, although not quite.

There is always something mesmerising about watching snow fall and gently swathe everything in softness, however there is an undercurrent in this in the effective sabotage of a lovely piece of machinery that no longer has a purpose.  I found the stillness of the photography, and yet menace of the action added my own Bond 007 element to complete it.


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