Tate Britain Exhibition

Art Now Sophie Michael Trip (the light fantastic)

Still from Chapters One to Five, a film by artist-filmaker Sophie Michael

Sophie Michael Chapters One to Five 2012 Courtesy of Sophie Michael, Seventeen Gallery © Sophie Michael 

Delve into artist-filmmaker Sophie Michael's exploration of our relationship to the past

Sophie Michael is a London-based artist-filmmaker who creates 16mm films that examine ideas around nostalgia and innocence. Her work with the moving image draws on early experimental filmmaking and mid-twentieth century design to question our relationship to the past through the lens of the present.

On display is her silent 16mm film, 99 Clerkenwell Road 2010, which revisits the work of German abstract animation filmmaker Oskar Fischinger (1900–67). Shot at night in an empty shop, the film captures the simplicity of light and colour in motion. Moving the camera almost blindly, Michael intermittently reveals the architectural space and outside urban elements, in a back and forth between abstraction and reality.

Chapters One to Five 2012, is the third film in the Astrid series (2010–14), made with Astrid Everall over the ages of seven to eleven. Astrid responds to different sets that re-construct interiors from 1950s Charles and Ray Eames designs to 1970s home improvement magazines. It takes inspiration from educational materials and re-enacts the demonstration films which were made at that time.

Sophie Michael’s work continuously explores the contradiction of our contemporary responses to the past, and how vanished eras can be at once fascinating, outdated and slippery. The Watershow Extravaganza 2016, is named after an attraction at Watermouth Castle in North Devon which was built for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The film choreographs water and coloured light to music played by a 1920's mechanical organ. Using in-camera editing techniques, Michael re-weaves together the elements of the performance. Creating a secondary layer of synaesthesia between light and sound, she evokes early 20th century experiments with colour organs.

Art Now is a series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and highlighting new developments in British art.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


11 July – 30 October 2016