Guy Sherwin: Caught in the Light

Friday 17th September / 8:30PM @ The Holy Trinity Church

Live Performance

A virtuoso performer whose instrument is film, Guy Sherwin will present a specially curated mix of live performances (including his celebrated Man with Mirror) and short projected pieces. In its explorations of the fundamentals of cinema – light and the passing of time – Sherwin’s work is a beguiling invitation to reflect.

Followed by  a drinks reception at Gymnasium Gallery, and then an after-show party at the Maltings Stage Door Bar, with a DJ and dancing 'til late!

Screenings and Performance

Paper Landscape (performance) 1975/2010
                        Super 8 film, transparent screen, paint
Short Film Series (4 films) 1975-1998 
                       16mm, silent
Cycles 1972.
                       16mm, optical sound
Man with Mirror (performance) 1976/2010 
                      Super 8 film, mirror screen.

A key figure in the UK art scene of the last forty years, Guy Sherwin has been exploring the unique, elusive qualities of analogue film through experiments with sound, image and film in live performance. His works, which often manipulate the very material of film, exist in “the gap between movement and stasis, and can have the feeling of being suspended in time” (GS).

With his Short Film Series, an interconnected set of silent 16mm films lasting three minutes each (the length of a 100-foot roll), Sherwin embraced a wide variety of subjects whilst imposing specific formal constraints on each film, such as working with increasing exposure or shooting at a rate of one frame per second. This ongoing project encompasses around 40 films in total, which can be screened in any combination.

While the Short Film Series’ primary concern is process, Paper Landscape and Man with Mirror offer two of the most striking examples of live cinema, where the filmmaker’s on-stage interaction with the projected, original work, “becomes a sharply focused document of transience”. (Lucas Ihlein)

Sherwin’s original film for Paper Landscape shows a large white frame in a landscape; the screen is gradually torn to reveal the artist standing behind. For its live presentation, the film is projected onto a transparent screen that Sherwin paints white, so that the gradual construction of the image before our eyes coincides with the destruction of the original frame, with the real-life Sherwin progressively walled in by his own projected self.

In Man with Mirror, the filmmaker interacts with his on-screen image, deflecting and reflecting it. Working with a hand-held screen that is also a mirror on one side, Guy Sherwin uses mirror or screen to either “catch” the projected image or reflect it around the screening space. His activity on stage mirrors, gesture for gesture, the activity caught on screen, the live performance providing a meticulously choreographed visual echo of its 1976 recording. Bringing us face to face with the passage of time in the confrontation between present-day Guy Sherwin and his 1976 self, watching Man with Mirror is both a disconcerting and beguiling experience: playful yet profound.

Artist's Profile

Guy Sherwin studied painting at Chelsea School of Art in the 1960s and taught film printing and processing at the London Film-Makers' Co-op (now LUX) during the mid-70s.

His films investigate fundamental qualities of cinema such as light and time, and often use serial forms or live elements to extend its possibilities.

Recent works, made in collaboration with artist Lynn Loo, include performances using multiple projectors and optical sound in conjunction with improvised music. These have toured in Europe, US, Asia, and Australia.

Recent performances

2009 Flatpack Festival, Birmingham
2008 Kill Your Timid Notion, DCA, Dundee
2007 Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels. 'LeGrice, Raban, Sherwin - Live Cinema'
2006 Skolska 28 Gallery
2006 Rotterdam International Film Festival ‘Guy Sherwin - Live Projections’

< Back to Programme
Artist Guy Sherwin Country UK Year 2010 Duration 60 minutes Cert Suggested 12