Four short films inspired by art at Tate Liverpool and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mike Figgis will be broadcast on Channel 4’s Three Minute Wonders. From Monday 14 – Thursday 17 December 2009 Channel 4 will broadcast four art films that show the people of Liverpool reacting and responding to renowned artworks from the Tate Collection, currently on display at Tate Liverpool as part of DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture. The short films are a Red Mullet Production with Tate Media for Channel 4 and will be broadcast at approximately 19.55 each evening. In addition to their broadcast on Channel 4 the films are also available to view alongside the artworks in the current DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture display at Tate Liverpool and will be available to view on the Tate website (www.tate.org.uk).
The first film sees Carl Andre’s 144 Magnesium Square (1969) relocated to Rapid, a hardware store in Liverpool City centre. The artwork, comprised of a series of tessellated metal squares, is designed to be walked upon and was situated in the Rapid’s tiling department. Members of the public were invited to engage in a discussion about the art in this unexpected setting.
Marcel Duchamp’s infamous Fountain (1917, replica 1964) is the inspiration for the second short film by Mike Figgis. University students were invited to react to Duchamp’s ready-made sculpture of a urinal in the toilets of Liverpool University’s Guild of Students.
The North Liverpool Academy, Everton was the setting for the third film, which saw secondary school pupils discussing their thoughts on Dan Flavin’s Untitled (Corner Piece) (1969). This piece consists of two fluorescent light tubes arranged in a cross and situated in the corner of a room to reflect the architecture of the space.
Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Two Dr J Silver Series, Spalding NBA Tip-Off) (1985) by Jeff Koons features three basketballs suspended in a glass case. Removed from any practical purpose, they become fetish objects to be gazed at and admired. According to Koons, they suggest death, the ultimate state of being. Groups of young people from across Liverpool visited Tate Liverpool to consider the impact of the work for themselves. The groups taking part were Calderstones School, Alsop High School, Halewood College and members of Young Tate.
A writer, director and composer, Mike Figgis has emerged as a visionary filmmaker who thrives on taking artistic risks, making his feature film debut with Stormy Monday in 1988. Figgis achieved international critical acclaim in 1996 for his film Leaving Las Vegas, which he wrote, directed and scored. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards. Other celebrated films by Figgis include Timecode, One Night Stand, Internal Affairs and Miss Julie. Combining an interest in the visual arts with documentary filmmaking, Figgis worked alongside ArtAngel and artist Jeremy Deller on The Battle of Orgreave (2004) a re-enactment of the Thatcher Government’s confrontation with the National Union of Miner’s at Orgreave colliery, North Yorkshire in 1984.
Speaking about the project Mike Figgis said “The thing that is most important to me is that these films are a way of demonstrating that art can be discussed, and that the discussion of a work of art is as important as the art itself. […] I believe that a strong work of art will have resonance regardless of where it is or what happens to it.”
DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture takes an ambitious and revolutionary look at the history of modern and contemporary sculpture. Cultural figures have been invited to co-curate sections of the display. Transforming the first and second floor galleries are artist Michael Craig-Martin; designer Wayne Hemingway and his son Jack; and artist, director and writer Tim Etchells. The display is sponsored by DLA Piper and admission is free.