During the early years of film there was widespread debate about the ability of sequences of moving images - not just the human face - to represent states of mind and emotions. Artists have continued this line of exploration. 

Films showing in this section: 

11:59 - Kenneth Macpherson Wing Beat 1927 (fragment)
12:16 - Jaki Irvine Eyelashes 1996
12:23 - Breda Beban and Hrvoje Horvatic Absence She Said 1994

Kenneth Macpherson Wing Beat 1927 (fragment)

18 minutes. Collection: Museum of Modern Art, New York

Macpherson described Wing Beat as ’ A study in thought… a free verse poem’. It is a film about relationships conveyed through glances, gestures, and landscape shots. Macpherson himself and the imagist poet HD (Hilda Doolittle) play the leading roles. As ‘Pool Films’, Macpherson, HD and Bryher (Macpherson’s partner) also produced the magazine devoted to film art Close Up. All that survives of the film is this fragment. It is silent. 


Kenneth Macpherson was born in 1903. A painter, filmmaker and later novelist, Macpherson was the strongly opinioned editor of the international magazine ‘devoted to film as art’ Close Up 1927-33. His three short films (were they ever completed?) were followed by the feature film Borderline, made with the poet HD and his wife (and Close Up’s publisher/financier) Bryher. His involvement with the magazine and Bryher ended in 1933, but in New York he co-produced Hans Richter’s film Dreams That Money Can Buy 1944, before retiring in 1947 to life as a writer in Italy. He died in Italy in 1971.

Jaki Irvine Eyelashes 1996

6 minutes. Collection: Frith Street Gallery 

Jaki Irvine’s film tells two stories at the same time. Her images observe a couple talking over a breakfast table, perhaps discussing their relationship. On the soundtrack, a woman’s voice describes a man’s obsession with (another?) woman’s eyelashes, which make him uneasy. The viewers’ task is to look for conjunctions and attempt a synthesis; in effect to construct their own ‘interior drama’. 


Jaki Irvine was born in Dublin in 1966. She studied at Dublin School of Art and Goldsmith College of Art, London. Irvine’s films are almost always shot on the amateur gauge of Super8, and have the appearance of fragments from longer narratives. They are sometimes further deconstructed by being shown as installations, with different sections on separate screens, so viewers have to assemble the work for themselves. She lives in Dublin and Italy. 

Breda Beban and Hrvoje Horvatic Absence She Said 1994

15 minutes. Collection: Artist 

Absence was made three years after the two artists fled the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. Fragmented details of domestic interiors are interwoven with shots of impersonal, archetypical landscapes. These images together with written captions, evoke the state of mind of the nameless central character, performed by Breda Beban. 


Breda Beban was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia in 1952; Hrvoje Horvatic was born in Rijeka, Yugoslavia in 1958, and died in London in 1997. Beban studied painting at the Academy of Fine Art, Zagreb; Horvatic at the Academy of Theatre Film and Television, Zagreb. Beban’s growing interest in performance and Horvatic’s experience in arts documentary led them to collaborate on video works in Zagreb from 1986 onwards. The civil war that divided their homelands brought them to live and work in London in 1991. Beban won a Paul Hamlyn Fellowship in 2001.