The Hundred Heads was made in 2004 to accompany the video installation x(trace), studies for a self-portrait shown at Gallery 44 in Toronto as part of the Images Festival’s Images Off-Screen installation series.
Two 44 x 44 inch photos, one a composite grid of one hundred square images and one a single image were displayed on either side of the video that they taken from. All images are from scans of frames of the hand-processed 16mm film used in the video.
x (trace), studies for a self-portrait is a “motion painting” in which my interest in the painter Francis Bacon’s self-portraits is a starting point for a series of hand-processed film experiments resulting in a triptych “self-portrait in time” full of distortions, transformations, graphic patterns, textures, colours and intensities of light. I used mirrored plexiglass with a hole cut in the centre so that I could to film myself with a Bolex, either single frame or at different frame rates, with a cable release attached to a pole. Techniques included various combinations of in-camera super-imposition (multiple passes on the same frames, often with different lighting), single frames shot with long exposure times, rapid zooms (with an old video lens) and lighting effects.
I then hand-processed the film, adding texture and grain, producing many unexpected results often difficult to replicate.
The impetus for the moving image project came from still images - photos of paintings. The original filming was done in a photographic mode, often framing individual poses, lighting and exposing for specific goals. The Hundred Heads takes the project full circle, as it were, back to stills. In their fixed state the images contain much of the tension, energy and movement found in the video. Their square format is intended to differentiate them from the original 16mm frames so that they operate on their own terms. The viewer’s eye can drift over the rows and columns of the grid and form various combinations of imagery. Questions of scale arise in the difference between the grid and the single image. Removed from the aggressive flow of the video they allow for extended contemplation and examination of detail while retaining the visceral and ambiguous experience of the video.
Three images from the series were shown at Café Royal Books Repro Project show at Hanover Project at UCLan
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