Los Angeles Filmforum Presents Gunvor Nelson
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Gunvor Nelson in person from Sweden!
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028
Note the change in day!
Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.
Filmforum continues bringing renowned experimental film artists from elsewhere this season with an extremely rare visit from Sweden of legendary media artist Gunvor Nelson. Gunvor Nelson is one of Sweden's internationally most prominent artists in her field - film and the moving image, and a key figure in the history of experimental film. Now 80 years old and living in Sweden, she says this is likely to be her last public screening in Los Angelesever, so you really don't want to miss it.
"Gunvor Nelson's poetically expansive life's work-created in both San Francisco, her home and workplace for over thirty years, and her native Sweden, where she has resettled-has consistently, often courageously, privileged her subjective gaze and individual experience. Nelson relentlessly refuses predictability (and succeeds) in her search for a true relation between project and form. Among the most experimental of artists, Nelson illuminates such elusive and intimate subjects as childhood, aging, displacement, memory, women's roles, death, and the symbolic forces of nature and water via a potent exploration of the possibilities of sound and moving image. Her ephemeral, dreamlike images are simultaneously tactile and almost tangible, while her imaginative use of language and traces of music add considerably to the emotional impact of her works. Filmic collage and dynamic editing create tension and contrast. The unique characteristics of Nelson's works form less a definable style than a sustained aesthetic." Jytte Jensen, Curator, MOMA
Be sure to read Chris Holmlund's chapter on Gunvor Nelson's films in Women's Experimental Cinema, edited by Robin Blaetz, pp 66-88.
Lynne Sachs's note on films by Gunvor Nelson: http://www.lynnesachs.com/medium/writing/essay-on-the-films-of-gunvor-neslon-by-lynne-sachs-07112011/
Special Thanks to Steve Anker
Snowdrift (2001, 9 min., video, sound)
With video, however, both the aspects of the medium and quality of the equipment she owns further encourage minimalism. Her second video, SNOWDRIFT (a.k.a Snowstorm), is exemplary in this regard.27 It begins and ends with snowflakes flying against (another) Falu-red log wall. From the start, behind the gestural camerawork, diagonal lines encounter horizontals. First subtly, then overtly, framing is challenged by what Widding calls the "curtain of snow."28 As the video progresses and the snow continues to fall, the snow flakes are animated and abstracted, becoming blobs, lines and dashes. At times these renderings are reminiscent of video "snow," yet they vary in tempo, alter direction, and even revolve as colors pulsate in and out punctuated by moments of black and white. In a middle section, an oval plaque of a moose (another quintessentially Swedish marker) can be glimpsed.29 Nearer the end, lines metamorphose into rectangular planes, then turn back again to lines; always "real" images interrupt or mingle with animated ones. Chris Holmlund, "Excavating Visual Fields, Layering Auditory Frames," in Women's Experimental Cinema,
My Name is Oona (1969, 10 min., 16mm, b&w, sound)
"But the revelation of the program is Gunvor Nelson, true poetess of the visual cinema. MY NAME IS OONA captures in haunting, intensely lyrical images fragments of the coming to consciousness of a child girl. A series of extremely brief flashes of her moving through night-lit space or woods in sensuous negative, separated by rapid fades into blackness, burst upon us like a fairy-tale princess, with a late sun only partially outlining her and the animal in silvery filigree against the encroaching darkness; one of the most perfect recent examples of poetic cinema. Throughout the entire film, the girl, compulsively and as if in awe, repeats her name, until it becomes a magic incantation of self-realization." - Amos Vogel, The Village Voice
"It is one of the first filmic masterpieces of the new wave films." - Larry Jordan
Fog Pumas (1967, 25 min., 16mm, color, sound)
By Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley.
"FOG PUMAS is an updating of surrealism. It really teases the viewer because you know something is happening, but you don't know what it is. Some of the carefully composed shots are just long enough to allow involvement, and others just quick enough to be concerned with abstract graphics. The sound track has the admirable quality of being an integral part of the film." - Don Lloyd
Before Need Redressed (1995, 42 min, 16mm, color, sound)
Fourteen years after making BEFORE NEED, Gunvor Nelson and Dorothy Wiley entered into a fascinating process. They revisited the film, reworked and reedited it, making a new and shorter version, called BEFORE NEED RE-DRESSED. It is an interesting excursion into how passing time, further experience, and time for reflection can affect and alter the shape and vision of a film.
Gunvor Nelson was born in 1931 in Stockholm and grew up in Kristinehamn, Sweden.
She studied at University College of Art, Craft and Design (1950-51) and at Beckmans College of Design (1952-53), both in Stockholm. Moved to the USA in 1953 and studied at Humboldt State College (1954-57), San Francisco Arts Institute (1957) and Mills College in Oakland (1957-58). She graduated with an MFA in painting. At the Institute she met Robert Nelson whom she married in 1958. Film debut with Schmeerguntz in 1966, co-made with Dorothy Wiley.
Teaching positions at San Francisco State University 1969-70 and San Francisco Art Institute 1970-1992. Moved back to Sweden in 1993. Numerous major awards and grants, most recently the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's Grand Award (2006). Her films have been screened at the major art museums and cinematheques in Europe and North-America and had the recognition of several retrospectives: among them MOMA in New York, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Arsenal in Berlin, and at Oberhausen, Germany. In 2008 Nelson was awarded an artists lifetime income guarantee by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
Filmforum's screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Metabolic Studio; and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.
Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:
Dec 9 Ann Arbor Film Festival 50th Anniversary Tour
Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2012 is our 37th year
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Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian (View)
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
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