"The term ‚Äòpersonal film,‚Äô one of the earliest used to define artists' film, marked the practice as entirely different from industrial feature films, with their strict division of labour and hierarchical mode of production, locating it instead in the individual - often working alone ‚Äì with all the implications of self-expression that this entails. But there is also another characteristic of this other kind of filmmaking, which is its inherent criticality. As a form it poses a direct challenge not only to industrial production but also to how and where the films are shown, to those tropes of mainstream feature films with which we are familiar (such as narrative and identification) and to how these works are understood, how we read them.
As such, the works Essentials: Expression variously extend how the personal was and is also political. Often by very different means ‚Äì storytelling, formalism, repetition, confession, iconoclasm ‚Äì they are opposed not only to the mainstream cinema which they sometimes exploit, but also radically challenge the institutional and ideological structures of gender, sexuality, family, the state and the individual that have otherwise shaped our own experience of the world."
- Ian White
Ian White is Adjunct Film Curator for Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, an independent curator, writer and artist. Projects include Kinomuseum for Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2007) and he was associate curator of The Secret Public: The last days of the British Underground 1978 ‚Äì 1988 (Kunstverein Munich; ICA, London; The British School at Rome Gallery). As an artist his most recent work was a collaborative performance with Jimmy Robert, Marriage ?† la Mode et Cor Anglais (STUK, Belgium; De Appel, Amsterdam).
Theatriacal poster featuring Kenneth Anger's Invocation of My Demon Brother, 1969 ¬© courtesy the artist and Stuart Shave Modern Art, London