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Malcolm Le GriceClick here to Print this Page
Gill Eatherley
Pan Film begins from a deceptively simple continuous black and white sequence - a series of slow camera pans across a sparsely furnished room with a potted plant, a lamp, a chair - maybe the same chair - and a window where the view outside is hidden by a patterned blind.

The sequences are then printed as negative and positive and shown in various combinations on three adjacent screens. The pans are shown with movements that are in the same direction and then counter-pointed by screens where the pan direction is reversed. The visual effect of the combined and counter-pointed movement is to establish an unexpected reading of the three-dimensional experience of the space. This uncanny, almost unconscious shifted experience - a sense that the actual space has become more plastic, less solid - I assume to be a result of adding a comparative time and movement dimension to the perspective of each individual screen image. The juxtaposition of the panning images of the same shot, particularly when very slightly out of synchronisation makes us aware that spatial experience is not independent of the time and movement through which we view it. The formal and perceptual aspect of the work is so strong that for a while we may be unaware of the significance of the represented content. However the simplicity of the room and its furnishing is both symbolic and autobiographical.

This work was made at a time when few women were making film and at the very beginning of a period when this was to become a major matter of debate and action by women artists. Pan Film is not didactic in its reference to a feminist content - it is under stated - the brassiere draped over the chair back can go unnoticed, taken for granted as simply 'what happened to be in the room when the sequence was shot'. But from the moment the film was made it has been a signifier - the intimate object of clothing belonging to the artist and a symbol that the artist is a woman. It is placed deliberately on the back of the char - as if 'worn' by the chair - it has not arrived there by accident. It also plays its part in the formal aspect of the film - acting as the measure of one extremity of the pan and changing from white to black as the film shifts from negative to positive.

Stills from Pan Film by Gill Eatherley, 1972
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