opening: Miguel Gomes / Leslie Thornton

2 April, 2014 - 20:00
These two films are upsetting the relation between private and collective histories. Last year’s Artist in focus Leslie Thornton pushes deep into autobiographical territory to suggest the ways in which we are all implicated in technological and political changes. In 'Redemption' Miguel Gomes combines archive footage and uses voice overs of four different personalities who recall important stages in their lives which had an impact on who they became.

Let Me Count the Ways: Minus 10, Minus 9, Minus 8, and Minus 7

Leslie Thornton

Let Me Count the Ways is composed of short segments compressed into a 20-minute exploration of the lead-up to, the confusion about, and the aftereffects of the Hiroshima bombing. The title simultaneously references the countdown to the dropping of the bomb and suggests anticipation. Minus 10 juxtaposes footage of the artist’s father in los Alamos and on the way to Tinian island with an interview with a woman in Japanese about the bombing. Minus 9 aligns an American nurse’s eye- witness account of the bombing and its aftermath with aerial landscape shots blocked by a blinking blue circle which could represent a mutant sun, an eye, planet Earth, an afterimage, or the inverted “rising sun” of Japanese national symbolism. Minus 8 and Minus 7 show excerpts from a documentary, The Growth of Plants (c.1950), overlaid by running text describing radiation-induced botanical mutations. In recalling past histories of warfare, Thornton’s current work urges the reexamination of contemporary politics, and artistic practice, by building delicately balanced emotional and narrative arguments. (Trinie Dalton) 


Miguel Gomes

On January 21st 1975, in a village in the north of Portugal, a child writes to his parents who are in Angola to tell them how sad Portugal is. On July 13th 2011, in Milan, an old man remembers his first love. On May 6th 2012, in Paris, a man tells his baby daughter that he will never be a real father. During a wedding ceremony on September 3rd 1977 in Leipzig, the bride battles against a Wagner opera that she can’t get out of her head. But where and when have these four poor devils begun searching for redemption?

Redemption features Miguel Gomes musing with characteristic humour and melancholia upon small-scale, perversely prescient moments of human fallibility. A witty and affecting montage of colour Super 8 and black-and-white 16mm found footage is accompanied by four epistolary monologues (in Portuguese, Italian, French and German), each of which betrays a sense of haunting guilt or deep-seated regret. (Andréa Picard)