Do the ten artists nominated for the Jarman Award live up to the prize’s provocative namesake? Time Out's Art team give their verdicts on this year’s shortlist
Mon Oct 28 2013
‘I didn’t have to adopt a cause, I became one,’ said Derek Jarman, shortly before his death from Aids in 1994, aged 52. Controversial to the end, the film director, painter, writer, activist and gardener was adored as a rebel by his loyal fans and derided by an establishment that took umbrage at his cheerful disregard for convention and commerce. The art world has changed to such an extent since Jarman dressed punk icon Jordan up as Britannia for his 1978 film ‘Jubilee’ that video art now figures in museum collections and the Moving Image art fair is a staple of the money-minded Frieze week. But it’s Jarman’s spirit of risk-taking that the Award remembers in its selection of contemporary artists who experiment with moving images. The winner, announced on November 6, receives £10,000 and a commission to make a film for Channel 4. Here are our favourite films by this year’s nominees.
Uriel Orlow: ‘Yellow Limbo and Anatopism’
When war broke out between Egypt and Israel in 1967, 14 cargo ships were trapped in the Suez Canal. Arty archivist Orlow couples footage with subtitles referring to events which occurred during the eight years the ‘Yellow Fleet’ was in limbo.
Hannah Sawtell: ‘Osculator’
A monster truck and a construction vehicle battle it out in Sawtell’s characteristically hypnotic digital mash-up. The two vehicles appear constantly to circle the same ground; yet one is indoors and the other is viewed through a rain-splattered window.
Rachel Maclean: ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’
Maclean is the most resourceful of the bunch. Not only does she direct this surreal short about Scottish independence, she also stars as all the characters (including a lion and a unicorn).
Beatrice Gibson: ‘The Tiger’s Mind’
Gibson may be a deconstructivist but she knows how to create drama. This film is a whodunit (of sorts), in which set, sound, camera and narrator appear to battle for supremacy.
Ed Atkins: ‘Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths’
Atkins is an HD alchemist. In this endlessly shifting work, his main protagonist – a longhaired cyborg – repeats the same words, each time using a different intonation.
Commissioned by the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards. Supported by Arts Council England.
Grace Schwindt: ‘Tenant’
A French window away from am-dram cliché, this super-serious short by conceptualist Schwindt is saved by genuinely odd interludes – including performance art waterboarding – as it retells a story about a mysterious lodger during WWII.
Emma Hart: ‘M20 Death Drives’
Revisiting the scene of a car crash that left her trapped inside her dad’s Nissan Micra, this madcap storyteller takes a sharp left at Junction 9 of the M20 into a hallucinatory world of steam irons and ‘Dungeons and Dragons’.
Jessica Warboys: ‘Pageant Roll’
The links between art and landscape are coaxed into being in this gentle film by mystical postmodernist Warboys. Featuring lingering shots of lichen covered megaliths, it offers blissful respite for the info-bombed.
John Smith: ‘Dad’s Stick’
A veteran who has got his groove back, Smith presents a witty film – full of colour, reminiscence and a small dose of sadness – telling the story of his father’s penchant for painting by chronicling the life of the stick he used to stir his paint.
Charlotte Prodger: ‘:-*’
Prodger is a multimedia magpie who mixes ripped YouTube clips with highly personal spoken-word narratives. Here, her process of cutting found footage finds visual equivalent in scenes of an online footwear fetishist who slices up trainers and plays footsie for kicks.
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