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Spellbound: Art into Film, Film Into Art exhibition Hayward Gallery

Spellbound was a blockbuster show organised by the Hayward Gallery in collaboration with the BFI. The curators Ian Christie and Philip Dodd bought together ten artists and filmmakers to make new works in response to the centenary of cinema, resulting in a visually spectacular yet conceptually uneven exhibition that presented work by a range of artists and filmmakers working across an array of media. (The centenary of cinema was 1995 although the centenary of the arrival of cinema in the UK was 1996.) The lack of coherence was felt most strongly in the works that indulged directors to do little more than deconstruct their films in the gallery, exemplified by Ridley Scott's videos of the artwork for Alien and Bladerunner which added little to what was already known about these popular films. Whilst Terry Gilliam's interactive homage to Twelve Monkeys was more ambitious in terms of installation, neither Scott nor Gilliam's strategies compared with the conceptual elegance of Fiona Banner's rendering of classic Vietnam war films as text works. Other key works included Peter Greenaway's ever changing In The Dark, in which as yet unmade films were broken down to their component parts of lights, props and actors, and Edward Paolozzi's imaginary movie prop store The Jesus Works and Store. The show presented the London debut of Douglas Gordon's 24 hour Psycho, not a new commission but an important work that speaks as much about video's ability to warp time and space as cinema itself. Also of note was Steve McQueen's Stage, a 16mm film of tension and longing played out in black and white starring the artist. Damien Hirst's directorial debut, the 16mm Hanging Around was notable for being a curiosity and resembled a TV promo with its use of linear narrative, star names and pop sound track. The exhibition also ran into problems with the local council through the use of large scale projected image in an unlicensed space. Two works became subject to film classification: Hirst's film was awarded an 18 certificate and shown in a separate mini auditorium and Gordon's work too had to be screened off since the source material, Psycho, is rated 18 when shown in cinemas.

Marie-Anne McQuay

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