Material, procedure and process: for the artist-filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson (Artist in Focus Courtisane festival 2020), these three words define the core of his artistic approach. It is with this approach, grounded in an early preference for minimalism and a background in sculpture and street photography, that he knows like no other how to evoke the poetics of the lives and experiences of working-class African-American communities. Rather than pursuing conventional realism, he elects to abstract everyday expressions into theatrical gestures and to choreograph prosaic situations as artificial compositions. Rather than seeking a classical narrative form, he tends, more and more, towards pure abstraction. In this program we present two new films from his continuously growing body of works, which time and again stand out for their exceptional care for the specificities of place, movement and form.
Lago Gatún, Kevin Jerome Everson’s latest feature-length film, shot in black-and-white 16mm, is a minimalist odyssey that traverses the waterway between the Earth’s two great oceans. The artist travels through the Panama Canal, filming 10-minute reels of 16mm to create an almost abstract journey modulated in time through the light and dark of the opening and closing locks. Alternating with submerged darkness, we observe the beauty of the landscape, and the global trade that the canal was built to facilitate; bringing to mind that its American engineers imposed US segregation laws on the canal’s Jamaican migrant workforce. (BFI / Experimenta)
May June July
The months of May, June, and July are represented with peonies, fireflies, and the year 2020. A rollerblader (Jahleel Gardner) traverses Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C.