Skip to main content
Lux OnlineHomeThemesArtistsWorkEducationEducationToursHelpSearch
Artists Artist's home pageArtists essay index page
Darren Green Click here to Print this Page
William Raban
Raban started making films (around 1970), having studied painting.

His concerns with the relationships between nature and the filmic process, that would become inscribed into some of his early film work, could be found in his earlier approach to painting. In his series 'Wave Prints' he spilled oil paint onto the sea and traced the waves onto sheets of paper. He wrapped canvas around a tree trunk and re-visited it, adding washes of coloured dye until finally removing it, finding the effects of the weather and natural decay had produced "...self-formed marks on the canvas... the product of direct organic time process". This interest in process and 'duration' (what Peter Gidal calls "a material piece of time") would bring him into contact with like-minded artists who were engaging with film.

In the early 1970s, as a member of the London Filmmakers' Co-Operative, Raban would combine the co-op ethos of hard line politics, rigorous intellectualism and formal experimentation to produce some of the most enduring work of the period. As part of the 'Filmaktion' group he would experiment in the realm of 'expanded cinema', a film form that would later become aligned with 'installation' art. In these pieces, the relationship between audience, theatre, projector and light beam were all engaged in deconstructing the conventional apparatus of cinema - a project that was in keeping with the radical politics of the time.

In Take Measure (1973) he physically unwound the film through the audience from projector to screen; Diagonal (1973) used three projector beams extending beyond the screen into the theatre space and centred on the workings of the projector gate. 2'45" (1973) recorded and repeatedly re-filmed the event of projection and interaction with the audience, screen and filmmaker. These pieces are some of the most resonant (and characteristically witty) of the period whilst also providing clues for themes that he would continue to develop.

Photographic documentation of 2'45" by William Raban, 1972
Go to top of                             page