Tate Modern Film

Was it pop? Artists' cinema in Rome

Luca Patella SKMP2 1968, film still

Mario Schifano Vietnam 1967, film still

Luca Patella SKMP2 1968, film still

Franco Angeli Pascali in mostra 1969, film still

Films by Franco Angeli, Luca Patella, Pino Pascali and Mario Schifano draw on pop, advertisement, socio-politics and the influence of the New American Cinema in the art scene in Rome.


Mario Schifano, Italy 1967, 16mm, black and white, sound, 11 min

Mario Schifano films Peter Hartman and Gerard Malanga as they visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, mingling with many tourists. Their bodies and their curious performative actions form a counterpoint to the new religion of mass tourism, which Schifano captures in its most common, pop details. The epilogue of the film is an explicit metaphor: Gerard Malanga, one of the protagonists of Warhol’s Factory, and an actor in most of his films, shoots heroin.


Mario Schifano, Italy c.1967-70, 16mm, black and white, silent, 12 min

Anna Carini, Mario Schifano’s partner at the time, is the protagonist of the film. The young woman is observed, followed, questioned in close-up, in both indoor and outdoor settings, by the camera that partially strays into the scene and then briefly makes room for the author himself.


Mario Schifano, Italy 1967, 16mm, black and white, silent, 7 min

The Vietnam War was extensively televised, and Mario Schifano, in turn, filmed it from the television, in fragments, in keeping with a typical procedure of pop art and a fundamental technique of his work in painting. The director Marco Ferreri appears at the start of the film

Schermi / Screens 

Franco Angeli, Italy 1968, 16mm transferred to video, black and white, silent, 15 min

Franco Angeli films and edits a succession of television screens, repeated and overlaid, reassembling them in the space of the film. The work is a manifesto that demonstrates clear interest in the images, symbols and the flow of media.

Doppio ritratto: Schifano Angel / Double portrait: Schifano Angel

Franco Angeli: Italy c.1967-70, 16mm transferred to video, black and white, silent, 4 min

A short fragment recently discovered in the Archivio Franco Angeli that was made with Mario Schifano. With elegant, measured shots, the two artists film each other, like reflections in a mirror, hiding behind surfaces and objects, in the presence of the inevitable television monitor.

Archival premiere

Pascali in mostra / Pascali on display

Franco Angeli, Italy 1969, 16mm transferred to video, black and white, silent, 8 min

In September 1968 Pino Pascali died in a motorcycle accident. In May 1969 the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Rome held a large retrospective of his work, documented by the artist Franco Angeli. The rediscovered film, never shown before, explores the work of Pino Pascali in a visual dialogue with the participation of a silent young woman, filmed by Angeli with a handheld camera. The density of the works on display disperses only when the camera is taken into the garden, advancing at ground level to encounter the Bachi da Setola 1969.

Archival premiere


Luca Patella, 1968, 16mm transferred to 35mm, colour, sound, 30 min

Featuring: Luca Patella, Rosa Foschi, Eliseo Mattiacci, Jannis Kounellis, Pino Pascali

The subtitle ‘ironic-visual reportage’ of SKMP2 alerts the viewer to the playful, friendly aspect of the entire operation, explicitly evoking Entr’acte 1924 by René Clair and Erik Satie, while at the same time suggesting a performative component typical of the Roman scene of artists in the circles of arte povera. The film is divided into four episodes that document the actions of four artists connected with the Roman gallery L’Attico of Fabio Sargentini: Eliseo Mattiacci (whose works are performed in the gallery and in the street), Jannis Kounellis (apparently engaged in the hanging of an exhibition, he dyes cloth before the eyes of his famous parrot), Luca Patella (who performs an action with flags in nature, with Rosa Foschi) and Pino Pascali (engaged in bizarre actions of self-unearthing and planting of loaves of bread on the beach).

Terra animata / Animated Earth

Luca Patella in collaboration with Rosa Foschi, 1967, 16mm transferred to 35mm, colour and black and white, silent, 7 min

Featuring: Rosa Foschi, Claudio Meldolesi

Terra animata is composed of a series of actions performed by a couple in the landscape with a number of props; the camera is a central element in measuring the movements of the bodies and their choreography in space. Patella’s film is not a documentary; instead, it establishes a dialogue at a distance both with the performative experiences in the landscape typically associated with land art, and with more structured actions for camera, such as in Wind 1968 by Joan Jonas.

Che posizione! / What a Position!

Pino Pascali, Italy 1962, 16mm transferred to video, colour, sound, 2 min

Production: Sandro Lodolo for Ferrovie dello Stato

From 1958 to 1968 Pino Pascali worked as a set designer, graphic designer and reative author for advertising and television, experimenting with materials of different kinds (plastic, polystyrene, papier-mâché) and different languages (including film animation, visual poetry and graphics). In Che Posizione! the rather explicit references are to the historical avant-garde, ranging from Fernand Léger to constructivism, from pop art to futurism.

Programme duration: 96 min

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

25 October 2015 at 14.00–16.00

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