February 20, 2014

Cinema & Painting

Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington
Judy Millar, working model for new work, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Cinema & Painting examines the intersection of two screen-based arts against the backdrop of a culture characterised by the increasing plasticity of pictorial surfaces and flexibility of viewing spaces. Turning to contemporary and historical artists who engage the relation between the screen and the space that projects from it, the exhibition maps the genealogy and continuing life of a modernist tradition of depth.

The exhibition was opened by Roger Horrocks, biographer of Len Lye and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. Martin Rumsby performed Hollis Frampton’s A LECTURE (1968).

“I think it is clear that the most obvious antecedents of the cinematic enterprise, at least in its beginnings, are to be found in painting.”
–Hollis Frampton

In three thematic suites, this exhibition combines volumetric cinemas and paintings that spill off the wall. It offers exemplars of a strain of aesthetic practice in which the interrogation of a haptic surface accompanies a commitment to the formal complexity of images. By addressing the materiality of projective space—that physical zone beyond the picture plane activated by the body of the spectator in conjunction with the beam of the projector or the intricacies of painted forms—Cinema & Painting examines the interconnection of these arts not only in pictorial but in explicitly phenomenological terms.

Cinema & Painting is accompanied by a curated film programme and a series of tours and discussions with artists Judy Millar (New Zealand /Berlin) and Diana Thater (Los Angeles), and film scholars Daniel Morgan (University of Chicago), Laurence Simmons (University of Auckland), and Kirsten Thompson (Victoria University of Wellington). Highlights of the screening series include a unique ‘live’ cinema event arranged by Michelle Menzies with Philippe-Alain Michaud, Curator of Film at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris; and the world premiere of Ken Jacobs’ 3D DCP feature The Guests (2013), as part of a special focus screening.

The exhibition is curated by Michelle Menzies and Daniel Morgan, including Jim Davis, Oskar Fischinger, William Fox, Hollis Frampton, Ken Jacobs, Lumière Company, Len Lye, Colin McCahon, Anthony McCall, Judy Millar, Matt Saunders, Phil Solomon, and Diana Thater.


Film programme
Turbulence: The Ocean as Cinematic Space
Saturday, 22 February, 6pm
Curated with Philippe-Alain Michaud, Curator of Film, Georges Pompidou Centre, France

–Nathaniel Dorsky, Alaya, 1976–87, 16mm, b/w, silent, 28 minutes
–Heinrich Hauser, WINDJAMMER UND JANMAATEN. DIE LETZTE SEGELSCHIFFE (Windjammer and Sailors: The Last Sailboats), 1930, 35mm, b/w, silent, 48 minutes
–Live music accompaniment by Jonathan Berkahn on piano accordion

“The river is within us, the sea is all about us.”
–T.S. Eliot


Ken Jacobs’ Volumetric Screen: Five Decades of 3D Cinema
Thursday, 27 March, 6pm
–Ken Jacobs, Opening the Nineteenth Century: 1896, 1990, Pulfrich 3D, b/w, colour, sound, 9 minutes
–Ken Jacobs, The Guests, 2013, 3D DCP, b/w, surround-sound, 74 minutes (world premiere)

“2D is a remarkable invention, crazier than most anything that can happen in 3D. Imagine the world flattened to a single insubstantial plane, a mere surface reflection! I must look into it.”
–Ken Jacobs


Re-Make: GDBY PK P
Saturday, 12 April, 6pm
Curated by Mark Williams, Director of CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video, Aotearoa, New Zealand

–Lucien Rizos, GDBY PK P, 2013, digital video, colour, sound, 89 minutes

Presented with CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand:

“…When something is happening here something else is happening over there.”
–John Baldessari


Cinema & Painting is generously supported by Creative New Zealand, Goethe-Institut New Zealand, the Embassy of France in New Zealand, the New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua

For further information, please contact Michelle Menzies: [email protected]


The Adam Art Gallery is the university art gallery of Victoria University of Wellington (Wellington, New Zealand). It is a forum for critical thinking about art and its histories as well as the professional structure within which the Victoria University Art Collection is managed. The gallery has a considerable reputation for its programmes that explore the full range of media available to artists and which aim to test and expand art form and disciplinary boundaries. The gallery is a remarkable architectural statement designed by Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand’s foremost architects.


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