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ADA Rotterdam - Area for Debate and Art

Tuesday 30 March 2010. Part of Cinema Sunset.

In March’s Cinema Sunset (March the 30th 2010) photographer Jim Turbert showed a selection of Warhol’s early short films from the period ‘63 -’65. In anintroduction talk Turbert explained how the early short films of Warhol made a deep impression on him during his studies at the Massachusetts College of Art. He is interested in the films because of their leghth, which has a clear influence
on both the viewer and the subject.Turbert’s own art practice deals with the randomness of media exposure and the meaningless void of voyeuristic hedonism.

Blow job (1963) 35 min
Kiss (1963) 50 min
Screentest Jane Holzer 4 min
Screentest ann buchanan 4 min
Screentest Paul America 4 min
Screentest Dennis Hopper 4 min
Screentest Bob Dylan 4 min
Runtime total programme: 105 min

Between 1963 and 1968 Andy Warhol produced over 60 films and 472 short black-and-white Screen Tests. His experimental films which emphasise stillness and duration came to be known as structural film.

As a filmmaker, Warhol was a provocateur of duration. Most of the films that were shot during the early sixties were fabled for there epic lengths: Sleep (1963), a five-hour portrait of the young poet John Giorno, and Kiss (1963) a 50-minutes film that exposes non-stop kissing people. The 35-minutes film BlowJob is one continuous shot of the face of DeVeren Bookwalter supposedly receiving oral sex; whilst the camera never tilts down to show it.

Although Warhol’s Screen Tests are short 4-minute portraits of factory visitors, they are also monumental in sum. Shot with his stationary 16 mm Bolex camera on silent black and white, each Screen Test is exactly the same length, lasting as long as the roll of film. In his Screen Tests, Warholl exposes his own selected group of “superstars”. Stars that hypnotize, simply by being themselves and stare at the camera as “living portaits”.

Blow job
Blow job
Screenshot: Ann Buchanan
Screenshot: Ann Buchanan