Tate Modern Film

Anthony McCall: the complete cone films

Anthony McCall, ‘Line Describing a Cone’ 1973
Anthony McCall, Line Describing a Cone 1973. Tate. © Anthony McCall, courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York
Anthony McCall, ‘Line Describing a Cone’ 1973
Anthony McCall
Line Describing a Cone 1973
© Anthony McCall, courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Anthony McCall is a pioneer of expanded cinema; his ‘solid light’ films reinvent cinema as a sculptural, physical and performative medium.

Since the early 1970s, Anthony McCall has produced films, installations and performances that transform projected light and space into immersive, participatory experiences. Occupying a space between sculpture, cinema, drawing and performance, they invert the conventions of cinema, turning the viewer’s attention to the projector, the light beam and the surrounding space, rather than to merely an image on a flat surface. The audience is not seated and stationary, but is encouraged to occupy, observe and interact directly with the ethereal, volumetric light forms produced.

Line Describing a Cone (1973, 30 min), McCall’s first solid light film, begins with a single point of light on a screen, which creates a thin line of light in the dark, haze-filled space. As the line is gradually drawn into a circle, it expands into a large, luminous cone, recalling the rigorous geometries embraced by minimalist sculptors, such as Richard Serra and Sol LeWitt. McCall deconstructs film to its principal components—light and time—removing sound, screen and storyline.

This special event presents a rare opportunity to experience Line Describing a Cone alongside the three related cone films McCall produced the following year in 1974. Conical Solid (1974, 10 min) projects a flat blade of light that rotates from a fixed central axis at eight different speeds. Cone of Variable Volume (1974, 10 min) presents a cone of light that repeatedly expands and contracts at four different speeds. Partial Cone (1974, 15 min) creates a range of surface qualities across a half-cone of light, from solid through glimmering, blinking and flashing.

Programme duration 60 min.

Anthony McCall was born in 1946 in London. He lives and works in New York.

Conical Solid, Cone of Variable Volume and Partial Cone are part of the promised gift of Anthony McCall's six Solid Light Films and related materials by Pamela and Richard Kramlich to the New Art Trust  to benefit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate.

Column by Anthony McCall, commissioned by Arts Council England as part of Artists Taking the Lead, a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, will launch in 2012.

This event is associated with the conference Inside/Outside Materialising the Social

Tate Modern

The Tanks

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

22 July 2012 at 13.00–18.00

Find out more