Derek Jarman: Les Archives
Derek Jarman: les archives is conceived as an interlude between the first part of the Modern Nature project, which took place in September 2019, and the second chapter that is set to start on September 25-27, 2020.
Curated by Elias Carella, Derek Jarman: les archives offers a glimpse into the growing research and archive material that has been collected at La Becque around the work and life of Derek Jarman while developing site-specific artistic interventions revolving around a garden designed as an homage to the British artist and filmmaker’s Prospect Cottage. This first event in the series will include a talk by artist Camille Dumond, a screening of Jarman’s feature-length film The Garden (1990), and a presentation of Ian Wooldridge’s video Infamy Effeminacy (2018).
Published by Editions Clinamen, French Geneva-based Camille Dumond’s Derek Jarman and the Filming, Not the Film is the first booklet of a series titled Entretien pour un Film published this May. In her essay, Dumond writes letters to Jarman, narrating her first visit to Jarman’s cottage and garden on the southern coast of Kent. She then explores Jarman’s filmmaking process, focusing on the relationship between the cottage architecture serving as a background to Jarman’s The Garden (1990) and the film’s plot. Quoting Beatriz Colomina’s analysis of modernist architecture Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture As Mass Media (1994) and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929), Dumond asks vital questions about our relationship to space, gender and architecture, and considers the possibility of a house and garden as an actor/actress playing an active role in filmmaking.
Filmed at Jarman’s Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, The Garden delves into the intricacies of gay identity in the 20th century. The film questions Section 28, a homophobic law active in the UK from 1988 until its final repeal in 2003. Almost without dialogues, the movie features Jarman’s innovative use of image reprojection on 16mm films as well as collages or, as New York Times critic Janet Maslin once wrote, an “assemblage of turbulent images”. Besides, the movie expresses a strong desire to escape the public sphere, the media, and to find privacy. The movie ends up being a paste-up of baroque imagery, religious references, painting-like photography, in a psychedelic celebration of activism.
Infamy Effeminacy is a film by British, Zurich-based artist and writer, Ian Wooldridge. Shot in 1991 in a paisley textile factory, the main footage was edited into a collage with images formed by the ornamental textile design typical from this factory. Pornography footage, text and sound are then added and gradually shape, in the words of the artist, “the central figure of a wizard (…) formed within a stark psychedelic narrative”. Wooldridge reflects on Jarman’s film with confident editing that mixes home movie-style shots with found footage. Tying domestic and political narratives, the film relates to the economic difficulties and industrial struggle in the UK and Europe since the end of the 1980s.
Infamy Effeminacy will be screened in the seminar room with an epilogue to the video Infamy Effeminacy, 2 Years On read by Jasmine Gregory, Semual Lala and Ian Wooldridge.
Photo credit: Filming, Not the Film, Camille Dumond