Clare Langan - Metamorphosis

6 Sep 2007 – 1 Oct 2007

Pippy Houldsworth

London, United Kingdom


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  • Piccadilly Circus

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Clare Langan's Metamorphosis will run from 6 September to 1 October 2007 to coincide with Beck's Fusions, for which the ICA has commissioned Clare Langan to make a new work. Beck's Fusions pod comprising a 16-screen 360° multi-projection will be launched by the ICA, in Trafalgar Square, and open free to the public from 6-8 September. Metamorphosis will be exhibited at Houldsworth as a large projected installation where the screen shape will reflect the anamorphic format in which the film was shot. Langan's Metamorphosis, at its first public showing, won the Principal Prize at the Oberhausen International Film Festival in May 2007.

Fulbright scholar and cinematographer, Clare Langan is one of Ireland's most celebrated artists. With previous experience working in the world of commercial big-budget films such as Braveheart, Some Mother's Son and The Boxer, she refrains from elaborate manipulation of images in post-production relying instead on the inherent sensuality of film. Her much acclaimed A Film Trilogy - Forty Below, Too Dark for Night and Glass Hour was presented at numerous important venues and biennales worldwide, most notably at MoMA in New York as part of its Mediascope Program, 2003, Tate Liverpool, 2002, the Irish Museum of Modern Art 2002, and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo, 2003. She represented Ireland in the 25th Bienal de Sao Paulo, 2002.

Clare Langan powerfully cultivates introspection, where poetic atmospheres and elegiac landscapes, capture the very nature of our fragile existence against the perpetual forces of nature. Langan uses the camera as an instrument to capture the reverberation of something that has disappeared. It depicts a world in an unrelenting state of transformation and motion, as it shifts between scenes of stormy landscapes to snow filled interiors, from frozen glacial surroundings to violent seas.

Metamorphosis deals with issues of cinematic off time, but here time becomes specific, as we see a suspended time of social history. Langan's work investigates an empty cityscape whose streets are eerily absent of its inhabitants. The storm leads us into snow filled interiors, with only flashes of its former inhabitants to suggest a human presence, but not leading to any definitive conclusions as to their fate. The hybridity of Clare Langan's practice can be see with film references that are both historically arresting and diverse, from early black and white glass plate photography to Japanese ink drawings of the 15th Century. The soundtrack comprises an original score by the composer, Jurgen Simpson.

Langan has always exploited the cinematic quality of her work in its presentation, both in terms of image projection, sound, and the architecture of the space.

A Film Trilogy was exhibited at The International 2002 at Tate Liverpool for The Liverpool Biennial, and Forty Below was shown as part of the Glen Dimplex Artists' Award 2002 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, whilst her film installation Floodlight was exhibited in At Sea, Tate Liverpool. In 2003 A Film Trilogy was presented at MoMA in New York as part of its MediaScope Program. In 2004, Langan was part of IMMA's Views from an Island; Contemporary Art from Ireland, and In 2005, A Trilogy was exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo; Miami Art Museum, ACME, Melbourne and at the Shanghai Youth Bienial. Following the Prinicipal Prize Award for Metamorphosis at Oberhausen Film Festival in May, the work has been selected by Isabelle Bertolotti, curator of Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lyons as part of Rendez-Vous for the Lyons Biennale in September this year.

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