Undercut was the magazine of the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. Appearing irregularly between 1980 and 1990, the magazine was run collectively, and most of its editors and contributors were artists. This sequence of films reflects some of the work championed in the magazine’s pages. 

Films showing in this section: 

12:22 Ian Owles Film School Portrait 1976 (Extract)
12:29 Nicky Hamlyn Guesswork 1979
12:40 Michael Mazière Untitled 1980
12:57 Jean Matthee The Descent of the Seductress 1983

Ian Owles Film School Portrait 1976 (Extract)

1 minute. Collection: Private Collection

Many of the contributors to Undercut came from the Royal College of Art, where Peter Gidal and Steve Dwoskin were influential tutors throughout the 1980s. Ian Owles recorded the School photo of 1976, when Dwoskin was already on the staff, but Gidal was still a student. 


Ian Owles was born in 1947. He studied at New York University, Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. After a short engagement with structural film, Owles had a distinguished career as a director of photography on documentaries and music videos, before his early death from cancer in 1996. 

Nicky Hamlyn Guesswork 1979

11 minutes. Collection: Lux 

The title Guesswork warns viewers that their role will not be passive; they are expected to work. The vibrant, near-abstract details, fragments and shadows filmed by Nicky Hamlyn can be enjoyed as coloured shapes, but the viewer is also invited to guess what is being filmed. In Michael O’Pray’s words ‘objects hover on the borderline between recognition and obscurity’. 


Nicky Hamlyn was born in 1954. He studied at the University of Reading and was workshop organiser at the London Filmmakers’ Co-op in the late 1970s. A lecturer at Kent Institute of Art and Design at Maidstone, Hamyln is active both as a filmmaker and writer on film and other arts. 

Michael Mazière Untitled 1980

18 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Michael Mazière uses many kinds of camera movement, image superimposition and sound dislocation in this exploration of two adjacent spaces. The artist writes ‘The film can be read [either] as an existential journey through interior spaces, or as a phenomenological inquiry into the relationship between what is seen and the act of seeing’. London Filmmakers’ Co-op Catalogue 1993 


Michael Mazière was born in Grenoble in 1957. He studied at Trent Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, London. A member of the Undercut magazine editorial board, he later became director of London Electronic Arts (formerly LVA), then of The LUX, formed by LEA’s merger with the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. He now makes video installations. 

Jean Matthee The Descent of the Seductress 1983

11 minutes. Collection: Artist

The iconic image of the ‘feminine’ is the subject of Jean Matthee’s film. At the time of its making, it was widely questioned whether the female form could be represented on film without participating in its exploitation. Matthee isolates and fetishizes the celebrated image of Marilyn Monroe, but makes its meaning deliberately ambiguous by repeating, refilming, and slowing it down, and mirroring it across two screens. 


Jean Matthee was born in South Africa in 1954. She studied at the University of Natal (Painting), the Slade School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. Ten years of participation in a Lacanian clinical workshop/forum and twenty years of psychoanalysis have informed her work. She has published and lectured extensively on the conjuncture of art and psychoanalysis.