10th Anniversary 2005 Programme Highlights
Admission free to all screenings/events
Westbourne Studios, 242 Acklam Road, W10
6-11pm Grand Opening Party Big Bother (Gary Moore), Comedy
about a man's obsession with getting on Big Brother. Star Wars: Revelations (Shane Felux) The new film made for Star
Wars fans by Star W
(1 –23 August)
ROCK ART at the PORTOBELLO FILM FESTIVAL 2005
Supported by Arts Council England and Film London’s Artists
Moving Image Network, Portobello Film Festival this year expanded
into presenting cutting edge fine art – painting, sculpture,
photography, installation and moving image – to compliment the
Why Rock Art? Well, Rock music was always better than pop music…it
promised more integrity and was less of a mouthpiece for establishment
values. All of these artists have worked with musicians on live concerts
or videos or album covers. The lines are blurring between the different
mediums as we enter a multimedia century.
Also working in an Underground context our Rock Art strand aimed to
bring art to the attention of the public in demystifying environments
like Parks, bars and cafes. As the film festival draws attention to
films that might not otherwise be screened or appreciated by a very
mediocre mainstream, so we hope to give the public exposure to funky
new artworks that take much of their inspiration from the streets.
Local graffiti artist Alex Martinez, responsible for many shopfronts
in Portobello Road and pioneer of the growing legal graffiti movement
– painting on designated sites (like The Hall Of Fame in Wornington
Road) and taking commissions from businesses who are beginning to
recognise the mass popular appeal of the genre and – organised
a three day live painting event with DJs under the Westway covered
market with top painters Stateofart, Snug, Pulse, and Busk 1. Sprayed
on wood, the works were then cut to shape and assembled into a 3D
virtual reality urban landscape installation at The Muse Gallery,
269 Portobello Road, called Palookaville, which ran for the length
of the Festival. Alex also produced a special Portobello Film Festival
piece featuring Jimi Hendrix juggling reels of film.
At The Muse, too, Ken Macdonald of Golbourne SRB’s Golbourne
Life magazine exhibited a poignant, elegiac collection of photos of
disappearing Portobello Road (as it sinks below tide of coffee chains,
theme bars, overpriced restaurants, and venal estate agents) called
Portobello Love Letter. The exhibition was complimented by a DVD of
the photos set to the song “On The Street Where You Live”.
The Muse exhibition was reviewed in Time Out which said it was “very
loud” and stimulated much discussion.
Les Freres Ripoulin are a group of Parisian painters who are masters
of the art of affichage or postering. This involves painting enormous
pictures, often with household paint on white lining wallpaper or
brown wrapping paper, and then pasting them up on billboards. It is
not an art form commonly practised in UK, although Bansksy has memorably
experimented with the medium on the Ladbroke Grove and Portobello
Road railway bridges. Agnes B. herself was once a patron of the Ripoulins
and in the late 80s the Town Hall of Paris was so impressed by their
work they offered them a large number of billboards and they invited
over the likes of Keith Haring from USA to help them cover the city
in specially commissioned posters.
Celebrating their 20th Anniversary the Ripoulins created 13 new site
specific bespoke works for the large double sided display panels in
the Courtyard exhibition space at Westbourne Studios.
Collectively the paintings recalled Picasso’s Guernica or James
Rosenquist’s F111 in scale, originality, and thrilling dynamism.
Individually, Bla Bla Bla’s Matisse-style graffiti comic cuts,
Ox’s pop art abstractions, Manhu’s sinewy trompe l’oeils,
3 Carre’s crossword/surreal riddles and Nina Childress’s
computer screen minimalism engaged in a dancing dialogue that breezily
dominated the giant, sub-Westway space of the Westbourne atrium.
The Ripoulins’ work uniformly performs the magic trick of hidden
shapes, formulas, and forms contained within unexpectedly revealing
The Object Orchestra Of Leipzig
Another Continental contribution was "The Object Orchestra".
Four years ago at the Portobello Film Festival an artists collective
from Germany, Terminal, had contributed a group exhibition, and from
their ranks has been born "The Object Orchestra". The Object
Orchestra record natural sounds – chairs being moved, doors
opening, glasses placed on a table, table football machines - from
a room, in this case the Westbourne Studios atrium, and place small
speakers by the source of the sounds and then replay the sounds from
a central control desk comprising 2 G4 laptops. The sampled sounds
create weird rhythms within the room and the public is unaware of
what is natural and what is recorded. Because the orchestra is in
full control of the sounds many moods from restful to funky can be
created. Sound sculpture at it’s most satisfying.
Joe Rush & The Mutoid Waste Company
West London artist Joe Rush makes giant metal sculptures out of scrap
motor parts. The founder of the Mutoid Waste Company, who have been
creating deliriant site specific environments all over Europe for
the past 20 years, Joe is currently collaborating with Damien Hirst
on bronze casts of his work. For the Portobello Film Festival he produced
two large female figures and a huge black centaur made up from motor
cycle parts never exhibited before, sited harmoniously beside the
Ripoulin pieces in the Westbourne exhibition space. Joe’s influences
range from 2000AD comic to Mad Max and from Transformers to heavy
metal, but his forms are remarkably graceful and recall a more elegant
age before the hysteria of Conceptualism and disposable Brit Art.
Another West London artist, Gordon McHarg, presented his life size
Charles Saatchi waxwork, Him, which vastly amused and entertained
the Westbourne audience. So lifelike indeed was the sculpture that
many people thought it was a real person performing a static mime.
Gordon also brought along one of his giant inflatable gonchons: a
large blue amorphous comic figure with a gormless smile that particularly
appealed to very young children.
Joe and Gordon had previously been working on both the Glastonbury
and the Japanese Fuji Festival and afterwards contributed to Gaz Mayall’s
Globe Café Stage at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Knockabout Comics are based a few doors down from Westbourne Studios
under the Westway and exhibited a collection of images from Robert
Crumb’s My Problems With Women, satirically chronicling the
artists troubled adolescence, subsequent fame and anxieties and sexual
fantasies, from a book that was once prosecuted under the Obscene
Publications Act (found not guilty). This is one of Crumb’s
most hilarious works, confirming him as a modern day Hogarth or Chaucer.
Moving effortlessly between the worlds of fine art, rock and roll,
questionable taste, sublime beauty, and astonishing craftsmanship
is the work of Chris Cunningham: music video director, star of the
Royal Academy Apocalypse exhibition, and favourite of both Advertising
creatives and avante garde filmmakers. Chris has only given one public
talk before in his whole career before. He screened a special cut
of Rubber Johnny and some new work and undertook a lengthy and good
humoured Q&A with the audience as part of Portobello Film Festival
2005. Covering many bases from technical to historical to aesthetic
he also revealed his current feature film projects…one a children’s
The occasion was heavily over-attended and queues snaked all the way
around the Westbourne Studios Courtyard with the audience waiting
patiently to be let in, bearing witness to the increasing public popularity
of leftfield work.
Chris’ participation was complimented by a programme of films
from his distributors, Warp Films And Records (including a showing
of Shane Meadows’ wonderful Dead Man’s Shoes and Chris
Morris’ My Wrongs), and a mesmerising Final Cut Pro- computer
editing system - Demonstration by senior technical consultant at Apple
Europe, Byron Wijawardena.
Al & Al
Maggie Ellis from Film London hosted a Q&A and screening of up
and coming video artists Al & Al. Al & Al work from a blue
screen studio in the East End creating visceral and amazingly beautiful
and complex virtual reality worlds including the latest video for
Andy Bell. Combining the sci fi special FX of Star Wars with psychedelia
and a nightclub sensibility, Al & Al are clearly set to be the
Gilbert & George of the new multimedia millennium.
Video Art inc. RCA & BowieArt
A large amount of video art was screened at the Festival 2005. The
last Saturday was non stop artists work in the moving image from 2pm
to 11pm including European work from Holland’s Arno Coenen,
who came over to introduce it, and Sweden’s Lena Mattson. Other
highlights included this year’s RCA Design Graduates show introduced
by the students themselves and an hour of BowieArt. BowieArt.com is
David Bowie’s on line gallery for young British artists working
in the moving image and features pieces from many Goldsmiths and St
Martins students covering a wide and wild spectrum of styles.
It is sometimes difficult to draw a line between contemporary animation/music
videos/computer graphics and fine art, so the Festival screens it
all anyway. Particularly impressive this year were contributions from
Addictive TV, Ninja Tunes (who give directors small budgets but complete
artistic control) and refugees from Lucasfilms (Oedipus performed
by kitchen vegetables and Revelations- a Star Wars spin off).
A special new prize sponsored by Apple, a copy of Final Cut Pro HD,
was awarded to Best Artists Work In Moving Image at The Elecric Cinema
on August 23 and went to Chi Yu for Supervixens 2 which contained
elements of Russ Meyer, Hong Kong Kung Fu, Clockwork Orange and Carmina
Burana in a disturbing but exciting visceral way that recalled Chris
Cunningham and Francis Bacon.
Jamie Hewlett & Gorillaz
Other paintings on display at Westbourne included Op Art from Colette
Moray De Morand, felt pen on cardboard Egyptian spoof by our skull
logo designer Mark Jackson, and Jamie Hewlett’s giant Zombie
Flesh Eaters mural on the first floor.
Jamie is the genius behind Tank Girl and the Gorillaz cartoon band.
Despite a busy schedule (the Festival coincided with the release of
the new Gorillaz album Dark Days, upon which the financial survival
of EMI no less depended). Jamie also designed this year’s PortobelloFilm
Festival programme cover – featuring Gorillaz in the mist in
an alley behind Westbourne Studios with Trellick Tower in the background,
and provided us with the Complete Gorillaz video selection–
including a lot of unreleased footage - to show on the Megascreen
in the park as part of our special Sunday VJ Convention on 14 August.
VJ Convention w/ Hexstatic, Exceeda &
VJs, or video jockeys, are artists wh o mix moving images, usually
as a backdrop to bands at big festivals or at nightclubs. The Portobello
Film Festival gave them a 20 ft megascreen to perform their work live
in Emslie Horniman’s Park W10 – where the steel band competition
happens at Carnival. In addition to the Gorillaz oeuvre, the Festival
also screened DVDs from Addictive TV featuring Giles Thacker’s
Mellowtrones and Hexstatic’s 3D Masterview (complete with 3D
spex) before a live set co-ordinated by Ben Mason, Red Dog. Ben is
currently being sponsored by Pioneer to demonstrate their new VJ decks
that allow VJs to mix and scratch DVDs in the same way DJs mix and
Stuart from Hexstatic (Exact Shit) kicked off the live sets with a
mad mix of mostly 70s pop videos downloaded from the internet: Olivia
Newton John collided with Earth Wind & Fire, the Police collided
with Dire Straights, Toni Basil collided with Diana Ross. After a
couple of wet days in the park, Stuart got the audience up and dancing
to this special “party mix”.
Next up was Exceeda, dressed for the part in Guantanamo Bay style
boiler suits and goggles, with their unique found image and computer
generated hypnotic mash ups, and the VJ Convention was rounded off
with a sublime set from Red Dog himself who proved images can be sensitive
and seductive as well as robotic and even occasionally political.
This is surely an art form for the future and Portobello Film Festival
was honoured to provide a launching pad.
Jonathan Barnett – Director
Leona Flude – Coordinator
Raymond Myndiuk – Programmer
Geoff Mann – Subscriptions
Andy McCafferty – Photography
Thomas Szabo - Website
Paolo Piselli - Troubleshooter
Kathryn Halstead - Assistant Coordinator
Edwin John -Industry Outreach
Michael Vassell - IT
Dave Pitts – Electrics
Carol St John – Market Research
Phil Underwood (Positive) - Design
Arts Council England, Campden Charities, Film London, UK Film Council,
Royal Borough Kensington And Chelsea, Golbourne United SRB, Sure Start
Golbourne, Westbourne Studios, Workspace Group, Apple Europe, Time
Out, JVC, Cobra Beer, Electric House, Paradise Bar, Inn On The Green,
Cobden Club, Guesthouse West, Westway Development Trust, Kensington
& Chelsea Community History Group and ACAVA