Moving image artist Max Hattler has an upcoming solo show at Tenderpixel that will showcase Shift, a newly commissioned film by Animate Projects for Channel 4’s Random Acts.
To celebrate the new show here is a snippet of the recent interview Gary at Animate Projects had with Max about his films 1923 aka Heaven and 1925 aka Hell.
These two films are part of the exhibition Animate OPEN: Digitalis and won Max the Audience Prize last summer.
Gary asked Max – The films are based on paintings by the French ‘outsider’ artist Augustin Lesage – what is it about his work that intrigued you?
The Animation Workshop had set ‘The Outsider’ as an overall theme for all the directors. I decided to look at outsider art for inspiration, as a way of making something that fit the brief, while remaining open and experimental and image-based rather than narrative-driven. When researching, I came across Augustin Lesage and I immediately fell for his obsession with symmetry and repetition, combined with his spiritualist understanding of art.
Lesage, a coal miner who picked up painting after an inner voice told him to do so, claimed never to have painted except under the explicit guidance of spirits, among them Leonardo da Vinci and Apollonius of Tyana. I liked the idea of transposing his vision of the spiritual world into a contemporary moving image context – updated through the lens of pop-cultural and art-historic references – using sound, image and movement to try and heighten the sense of the spiritual, while adhering to his parameters of symmetry.
The idea of a loop made sense in terms of extending Lesage’s patterned repetition into the dimension of time, but also as a ‘moving painting’, as well as in portraying the endless cycle – eternity – implicit in ‘the spiritual’.
You incorporate – and transform – Lesage’s images – what’s your approach to ‘appropriation’, especially in the digital age?
Nothing exists in a vacuum, everything is interconnected. Often influences are opaquely sampled, semi-consciously referenced. Sometimes it’s nice to draw direct lines. Review, remix, reappraise. What’s important is that some sort of transformation takes place, that something is changed, added. Or, as Jean-Luc Godard famously remarked, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
All works in the Animate OPEN exhibition can be viewed here.
More information on Animate Projects Digitalis strand of activities can be read in the Digitalis Newspaper Catalogue which is free to download here or can be purchased for the price of postage from the Animate Shop.
Max Hattler’s solo show at Tenderpixel runs from 10 March–28 April – more information can be found here.