Robert Smithson + Nancy Holt: Earthworks
April 24, 2013
Vox Populi Gallery
Philadelphia, PA, US
Part of Black Circle Cinema, co-programmed with Jesse Pires
In recognition of Earth Day, Black Circle Cinema is pleased to present two important films by two pioneers of land/environmental art. These two depictions of major works of earth art are just as stunning today as when they were first created. Smithson and Holt both deal with time and space on a grand scale and these films are a testament to their enduring vision.
This exhibition comes on the heels of JG, a new 35mm film project by Tacita Dean on view at the Arcadia University Art Gallery through Sunday, April 21. JG examines the connection between JG Ballard’s short story “The Voices of Time” and Spiral Jetty.
Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson, 1970, US, 16mm, 30’
This film, made by the artist Robert Smithson, is a poetic and process minded film depicting a "portrait" of his renowned earthwork "Spiral Jetty" as it juts into the shallows off the shore of Utah's Great Salt Lake. A voice-over by Smithson reveals the evolution of "Spiral Jetty". Sequences filmed in a natural history museum are integrated into the film featuring prehistoric relics that illustrate themes central to Smithson's work. A one minute section is filmed by Nancy Holt for inclusion in the film as Smithson wanted Holt to shoot the "earth's history." This idea came from a quote Smithson found: "the earth's history seems at times like a story recorded in a book each page of which is torn into small pieces. Many of the pages and some of the pieces of each page are missing". Smithson and Holt drove to the Great Notch Quarry in New Jersey, where he found a facing about 20 feet high. He climbed to the top and through handfuls of ripped pages from books and magazines over the edge of the facing as Holt filmed it.
Sun Tunnels, Nancy Holt, 1978, US, 16mm, 27’
Takes a close look at the many different processes involved in making art in the American landscape, away from urban centers and outside the usual art-world confines of museums and galleries. More specifically, it is a personal record of the making the filmmaker's art-work "Sun Tunnels" in the remote northwest Utah desert. Being aligned with the sunsets and sunrises during the summer and winter solstices, the sculpture indicates the daily and yearly cycle of the sun. The sunlight, which changes slowly within the tunnels during the day, is speeded up, making available an experience of the work which is filmic in nature.