For his first exhibition at Eleven
, acclaimed artist and filmmaker Gerry Fox will realise a brand new series of video works based on 19th century paintings. While in Venice making a large-scale installation about this contemporary city last year, Fox came across a series of works by famous painters including Turner, Sargent, Manet, Monet and Renoir all featuring gondolas in the citys canals. He set out to recreate these paintings on the highest quality 35 mm film, bringing them to life as cinematic tableaux. Each piece was shot at the exact location of the original painting including the Grand Canal, with all traces of the 21st century painstakingly avoided including the ever-present vaporetti and constant passers-by, no mean feat in this bustling, tourist city. Fox also used the only 19th century gondola left in Venice and colourful replica costumes. He almost literally filmed the past.
Once shot, the works were digitally manipulated using the most sophisticated, up-to-date techniques available to re-evoke the brush strokes and painterliness of the originals. The final works framed like old-master paintings appear initially to be oil paintings on canvas, but are in fact slow-motion impressionist representations of Venice, modern-day video evocations of the painted past. At once films and paintings, these works bridge the gap between old and new art technology: works in oil in high-definition! The works also wittily reference the practice of artists borrowing from each other across the centuries, while paying homage to the Queen of the Adriatic.
Foxs video works will be shown 24/7 for the duration of the exhibition. At night, the visitors will be invited to look at them from the street outside, peering into bright vistas of Venice glowing in the dark of the gallery. The artist attempts here to reinvent the temporality of exhibitions often dictated by regular opening hours. The works will be available for contemplation at any times of day or night, their effect changing as they echo or contrast with natural light, and very much in the tradition of Foxs successful film installations of the last few years.
Gerry Fox has won major awards (including the BAFTA, The Royal Television Society Best Arts Film, the Grierson Best Arts Documentary, the Prix Italia and The Festival of Films on Art in Montreal Grand Prize) for his innovative films about artists, including Gilbert and George, Robert Frank, Claes Oldenburg, Marc Quinn, Gerhard Richter and Bill Viola.
In recent years he has begun making large-scale, site-specific film installation works that have received wide public attention and critical acclaim. He was the first artist in residence at 176 in Camden from 2007-2008; and the resulting exhibition, Living London, was Exhibition of the Week in Time Out, Critics Choice in The Times and Pick of the Week in The Guardian. His six-screen immersive work, Favela Descending was exhibited in Shoreditch as part of the Concrete and Glass Festival in 2008 and was featured in Time Out, The Guardian and on Channel 4. Venice in Venice, a multi-screen film installation about the city in all its guises, made over five years, was displayed at the Palazzo dona della Rose during the Venice Biennale in 2009 and was the subject of a short documentary by Waldemar Januszczak.