David Gryn blog

David Gryn notes for LOOP Barcelona on his engagement with the Artists Moving Image World

In Art, Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Fair, Artprojx, Artprojx Cinema, Barcelona, Central Saint Martins, Cinema, David Gryn, Film, Gryn, Jane Bustin, London, LOOP, Miami, Miami Beach, Video Art on 12/06/2014 at 10:21 am





David Gryn, Founding Director of Artprojx.

Over the last 15 years I have presented major artists projects and screenings of artists’ moving image including during major international art fair periods such as during Frieze, Armory NY, Independent NY, Art Basel in Miami Beach and at LOOP and also working with leading art galleries, artists and institutes around the world, and always thinking about their prospective and potential audience. The logic being that of creating generally cinematic based screening events focusing the attention on the art work and delivering an audience for the projects often at a time when there are always plethoras of other audience demanding events going on. However in our current art climate – the art fair is dominating the art experience landscape and thus the audience, but screenings of artists films are probably one of the only times an audience is truly watching a work or works of art during an art fair period, whilst the main activity in the art fair is mainly focused on the sale of the art work. We have to put the moving image, performance and sound at the heart of the art fair experience to create a perception and a reality of its powerful place in our contemporary art world.

There are ever-more artists making moving image as their focus, part of their practice or even as purely documentation and technologies are making the quality ever-better, far easier and cheaper, the galleries, institutes and art fairs are showing ever-less. The artist moving image, the installation, the live event are a kind of ‘last bastion’ of pure art, where it remains ‘art’, fairly untainted by commercial attributes and demands, it is not easy to sell, own, view or digest easily.

My view is of an egalitarian, enabling, engaging and empowering environment for all parties involved to feel they have a role; artists, galleries, general public, art fairs, collectors, students. This is achieved by venerating and putting the artists and artwork at the centre of the live, public, commercial and digital art experience. Utilizing all platforms for the showing of artists’ work and creating social events and experiences in our digitally focused, time-limited and commercially dominated age. I believe we have to create audiences focused programming that operates with philanthropic and passionate attributes to the showing of moving image art works.

I hear film and often know instinctively whether it is great, good or not. Films like all art works have charismatic characteristics and it is often clear of the author’s voice, ego, charisma coming through based on techniques, sound, tone, visual impact, fonts, titles, which all combine and their chemistry results in the art work and its impact. A great work of art may linger in my head and heart for weeks and sometimes years after viewing it. I am most often lead by the sound of a film and that is what captivates me and can remain trapped in my mind far beyond the actual memory of the moments of watching the film. Film is primarily a visual language, however my memory is activated by the music, sound and the audio sense of what I see. I often distractedly look at films on my computer, but with the detritus of daily life, I look away to do other things and yet a good film will be heard throughout my distractions, as it may have a pace, a melancholy, a tension that keeps my listening focused, in much the same way as a great piece of music may leap out or emerge on the radio from the generally mundane or bland selections.

The world we inhabit is avowedly a human one and the work we do is best served and benefited from when done so with a modicum of love and passion, it is the unaccountable and immeasurable ingredient that we all know is there and vital in so many other walks of life. The art world at its most crassest end is just about business, albeit sometimes done with genuine appreciation and value of it being art, but rarely more than about the shifting of commodities. At the coal-face of the art world – it is not a business, it is a process more akin to love and passion and not commercially quantifiable and the best artists, gallerists, art fairs, collectors all show these traits to some degree. When I do a project showing artists film, I aim to think about the space, the place and the context of the screening and how we can make connections, how does it all relate and interact and how can all parties involved benefit. I am fascinated by the relationship between the makers, the audience, the venue and locality and the spaces in-between, how audience reacts and how we can work together for projects. In brief, my work is joining together all the dots.

My work is often connecting to and collaborating with a screening project, either via the artist or their gallery and to enable an audience to understand directly what they are coming to and that the environment is suited to them sitting for lengthy periods, basically managing expectations where possible and sometimes surprising people too. In brief I see my role as an orchestrator of encouragement for all parties on any given project. This is made simple in the context of the cinema, as they are designed for viewing film, and our now cultural awareness and expectations in these places are durational, to be focused, observational, as well as suspending our reality and allowing fantasy to reign. However, there are always exceptions to rules – and some works are simply made to have fleeting glances at them and thus the looped film rears its complicated head.

I had hoped by now in this decade that the ‘cinema’ would be host to regular artists screenings and that there would have been a box office revolution and we would now be in a nirvana of artists earning money via ticketing or even downloads (akin to music concerts/Hollywood film screenings and online music purchase) and not dependent on ownership, sales and complex public funding. In reality, there is not yet wide and unlimited interest in artists moving image, as it remains a medium that is not mass commercial entertainment, and that is also a really huge relief. Whilst we want the largest number of people to see works we show or make, art as magical rarity, unique and the unfathomable is where much of its value lays. We are living in a wonderful changing world, with our digital revolution in full swing.

Our expectations are ever changing and evolving, our viewing habits are shifting and accommodating new technologies. A recent comment by a leading USA museum director to me was that in the age of Netflix, how can we compete and show film in the museum and still attract an audience? My view is that we have to be more vigilant, inventive and create the right environments for showing this area of artist practice and output.

The future is always going to be changeable – but the fact is that we must engage better with the online experience for viewing of and interacting with art, but that instead of being a mirror to an art world, it has to learn how to make its own world and be seen as true art as any other platform art is shown on or made for.



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