Film Screening | Robert Smithson And Nancy Holt Introduced By Ellen Mara De Wachter

15 Mar 2019

Event times


Cost of entry

Free admission but donations are gratefully received

Aller Park Studios

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Dartington Hall Estate
  • Totnes

Save Event: Film Screening | Robert Smithson And Nancy Holt Introduced By Ellen Mara De Wachter

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Aller Park Studios opens a new programme of events with a screening of two films by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt. Spiral Jetty (1970) and Mono Lake (1968-2004) will be introduced by writer and curator Ellen Mara De Wachter.


Celebrated for their earthworks and sculpture in the landscape, Smithson and Holt married in 1963 and often travelled together and documented their work, and themselves, in photographs and on film. 

Spiral Jetty is a portrait of Smithson's landmark earthwork of the same name, which was constructed in 1970 on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. A voice-over by the artist describes the evolution of The Spiral Jetty and his intention for Holt to record 'the earth's history'. He wrote that the film 'began as a set of disconnections, a bramble of stabilised fragments taken from things obscure and fluid, ingredients trapped in a succession of frames, a stream of viscosities both still and moving. And the movie editor, bending over such a chaos of 'takes' resembles a palaeontoligist sorting out glimpses of a world not yet together, a land that has yet to come to completion, a span of time unfinished, a spaceless limbo on some spiral reels'.

Mono Lake documents a California road trip taken by Smithson, Holt andMichael Heizer in 1968. Featuring their Super 8 film footage and and images taken with an Instamatic camera, the film explores one of the oldest and most distinctive lakes in North America and shares an intimate view of alandscape that became central to the work of all three artists. Holt and Smithson originally planned to edit Mono Lake together. After Smithson died in 1973, the project was put aside until 2004 when it was edited by Nancy Holt for the Robert Smithson Retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Ellen Mara De Wachter will introduce Smithson and Holt's work and present her short film Suburban Odyssey: Revisiting Robert Smithson’s Passaic, in which she retraces Smithson's journey to his home town of Passaic, New Jersey, in search of the monuments of his time.

De Wachter is a frequent contributor to Frieze magazine and her writing has featured in publications including The White Review, Art Monthly, Mousse Magazine and Art Review, and on BBC Radio 4. Her book Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration explores the phenomenon of collaboration in the visual arts and its potential in society at large.

What to expect? Toggle

Exhibiting artists

Ellen Mara De Wachter

Robert Smithson

Nancy Holt


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