FILMS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
SIMCA PRINT ARTISTS
with Hiroshi Kawanishi, Kenjiro Nonaka and Takeshi Shimada
HANAFUDA / JASPER JOHNS
1978-81, digital transfer (from super-8mm film), 35 minutes
— Included in the exhibition, Big as Life: A History of 8mm Film in America, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York
— The soundtrack interview has been published by The Walker Art Center, MOMA and others
HANAFUDA observes the artist, Jasper Johns, and the master Japanese silkscreen printers at Simca Print Artists, as they created three different images from Johns USUYUKI and CICADA series. For me, the camera was a pretext for an in-depth apprenticeship. The finished film recapitulates my process of learning, gleaned over time, as I observed Johns and the printers at work. What I wanted to know was how one generates a work of art and, for that matter, what is art, what work is involved, and how do ideas as opposed to physical labor drive the decision making process. The films became a meditation on art and craft, as well as on the dialectic of mind and body, concept and actual work.
1978, digital transfer (from super-8 film original), 20 minutes, with sound by Richard Teitelbaum
— Remastered in 2015 by Anthology Film Archives with funding from The National Film Preservation Foundation
SILKSCREENS follows the choreography of printmakers at work, pulling the edition of Johns' print, THE DUTCH WIVES. It was filmed at Simca Print Artists in New York. I got the notion of repetitive labor as a form of dance from the French painter, Edgar Degas. No doubt, I was also influenced by minimalism (for example, the work of Yvonne Rainer, Jackie Winsor and Vito Acconci) with its impetus to integrate work and ordinary movements and materials into fine art. For the sound track, I worked with the musician, Richard Teitelbaum (who in turn had worked with John Cage). We used ambient sounds from the print shop and the street outside to reflect the kind of hearing that you experience as you work, when sounds float in and out of consciousness. The artist, Jasper Johns, does not appear in this film. My next film, HANAFUDA, focuses on Johns at work with the printers at Simca.
All photos copyright © Katy Martin 1980
and may not be used without permission.