Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Yvonne Rainer Project

Detail from After Many a Summer...; photo by Val PhoenixHopped on down to the Southbank Centre on Sunday to visit the ongoing Yvonne Rainer exhibit and specifically see some films that were only on show over the weekend. What I thought were her films turned out to be "Yvonne Rainer + artists' films". Hence, over an 80-minute period I only caught about 30 seconds of one of her films and it was one I'd seen before. Doh! Ah, well. Some of them were interesting, one was brilliant and quite a few were way too lo-o-ong. Ah, artists' films. Gotta love 'em. Sadly, can't really review them properly as most had no titles and I could not match up the films viewed to the descriptions in the programme. Ah, artists' films. Gotta love 'em x2.

So, to the ongoing exhibit. Well, there are three installations on view in the Gallery. Of these, I had a whale of a time at the circular work, After Many a Summer DIes the Swan: Hybrid, 2002. In this, a raised projector rotates 360 degrees, and the viewer follows the action by sitting in the centre. But, here's the fun part. The seat is a kind of Space hopper on wheels! Such fun. I was spinning all over the shop. If a group went, it would be like bumper cars. Awesome. The actual projections are quite enjoyable, as Rainer muses on the early 20th century avant-garde in Vienna.

The other two pieces in the Gallery were of less interest to me, being videos of some dance pieces she produced. Quite the multi-skiller is Ms. Rainer: filmmaker, choreographer, et al. I am not intimately familiar with her work, but her name crops up all over discussions of feminist cinema and art, and I found her role as the roller-skating artist in Madame X - an absolute ruler quite amusing.

Some of Rainer's own films, including Journeys from Berlin and The Man Who Envied Women, are on show at the BFI throughout December while an excerpt from Lives of Performers is on show in the Atrium.

The Yvonne Rainer Project continues at the Southbank Centre through 23 January 2011.
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