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UAL Research Online

A Century of Artists' Film in Britain

Curtis, David (2003) A Century of Artists' Film in Britain. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Curtis, David

This exhibition was the outcome of three years of dialogue with senior curators at the Tate around the question of how the history of artists’ moving-image art might best be represented alongside paintings and sculptures in the gallery-space. At its opening, Tate Britain director Stephen Deuchars recognised the project as the first, and long overdue presentation of this history by the Gallery.

As sole curator, I selected the 170 works and 130 artists included in the show, and designed the four day-long sequences of thematic and historic ‘programmes’, which ran in Gallery 26 without repeats, from gallery-opening till close, changing entirely at three-month intervals.

This innovative approach was designed to allow for both the unplanned ‘walk-through’ encounter of many gallery visitors, and the ‘planned’ visit of those who had found the web-catalogue (which gave exact start-times for every work shown). To achieve this combination of ‘seamless’ delivery with contextual ‘punctuation’, all works were transferred to hard-drive, and were introduced by mini-interviews with the artists, and/or explanatory texts, created through a partnership with llluminations Television.

Other Contributors:
OtherTate Britain,
OtherIlluminations Television,
Official Website: http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/artistsfilm
Additional Information (Publicly available):

David Curtis

Research Interests

History of British artists' film & video, History of international artists' film & video, Curating artists film & video, Public funding of the arts.
History of British Experimental Film, document and describe the development of experimental film and video in Britain. Study collection of videotapes, and paper documentation of British artists. AHRB funded, exhibitions and conferences

Current Research

I joined CSM as a Senior Research Fellow researching the History of British Experimental Film within the programme of the AHRB Centre for British Film and television Studies. My main concern is to document and describe the development of experimental film and video in Britain, its individual artists, its institutions, and the cultural and funding context in which it has taken place. A major research project has been the assembly of a Study Collection of videotapes and paper documentation covering the work of over 700 British artists. This has been based on donations from the Arts Council of England, the ICA and many individual artists. The Collection is open to researchers and actively supports and initiates exhibition and publishing projects. Another research stand has been building of the first comprehensive database of film and video works by British artists, currently containing 6,000 titles. This is the beginning of a major project supported by the AHRB to build an online resource to support academic research in this area.

My own curatorial research has resulted in a major display at Tate Britain - A Century of Artists' Film in Britain (May 2003-May 2004). My research is devoted to uncovering the histories of artists' film and video in Britain, and recording and documenting them in various forms. I lead the team that is building a Study Collection at CSM devoted to British artists' work that is available to internal and external academic and curatorial research. This is the only collection of its kind in the UK and its files already contain a substantial proportion of the history of the 'key' artist-led organisations, such as the London Filmmakers' Co-op and London Video Arts. The Collection is funded by the AHRB and forms part of the multi-partner AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies. The Collection includes tapes of artists' works, writings by and about artists, institutional documents, books, catalogues, posters etc. Building this Collection and encouraging its use forms a major research strand, to which PhD and MA research is contributing. The Collection website (built by colleague Steven Ball) is at www.studycollection.org.uk and contains catalogues of the collection, a historical database of artists and works, and temporary on-line exhibitions. My personal research has resulted in exhibitions such as A Century of Artists Film in Britain for Tate Britain (2003-4) and its website/catalogue www.tate.org.uk/britain/artistsfilm and the forthcoming book A History of Artists' Film and Video in Britain 1897-2003, BFI Publishing, October 2005.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 19 May 2003
Funders: Tate Friends, BFI, AHRB, BT
Related Websites: http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/artistsfilm
Related Websites:
Event Location: Tate Britain
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Tate Britain, Millbank, London
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 12:17
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2010 10:47
Item ID: 1332
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1332

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