A catalog of Stan Brakhage's films along with a text by P. Adams Sitney
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Stan Brakhage, American artist born in 1933, accomplished from 1952 to the year of his death in 2003, more than 300 films, all on film. Founder of a visionary cinema which finds its plastic and critical powers in the material itself of the film, Stan Brakhage is like a spiritual father for a whole generation of artists today.
His work, fecund and multiple, which feeds as well on his private and family universe as on nature and political events in his time, finds a fecund humus in abstraction for its visual researches. Great technician of the film tool – the camera as well as the film and the systems of printing –, Brakhage invents an unique film form, whose importance in the history of cinema sometimes made him compared with Pollock for painting.
Brakhage enlarged the field of the film figurativity as no other artist made it. He was a poet of his medium, an artist attentive to the plastic potentialities given by his tool first. Author of numerous theoretical texts, among which Metaphors On Vision (1963, trad. fr. editions of the Centre Pompidou, 1999), he also wrote in-depth texts on the technology of the film, the splice, 8mm format, the different qualities of the film strip, the techniques of printing, in brief poetics of film-making. In this vein, Paris Expérimental published in 2002 a french translation of his famous text A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book (1966).
Ten years after his death, and even though a part of his oeuvre was consequently published on DVD by American publisher Criterion, it appears necessary today to have an exhaustive inventory of his films to measure the largeness of his work, but also be able to locate – in the epoch of virtual information – the physical copies of its films.
Indeed, bibliography on Brakhage, although considerable, often comes back to take into account only some masterpieces giving so a reductionist picture of the work, more various and complex, with many unknown films, of which the catalogue will give an account.
There is to this day no catalogue raisonné of the work of Brakhage, but only a commented list (A Guide to References and Ressources), published in 1983 and the film-maker made films until 2003.
The catalogue raisonné is a tool for researchers, academics, theoreticians, art critics, curators, enlightened amateurs. Just like the catalogue raisonné published before by Paris Expérimental for Jonas Mekas, it’s also a « fine book », with more than 100 coloured illustrations.
Accomplished with the essential support of Marilyn Brakhage, his second wife and heir, the catalogue is introduced and directed by Emile Vergé, one of the best European specialists of his work.
An unpublished text by great American critic P. Adams Sitney is giving a synopsis of Brakhage’s filmmaking career .
A biography and a selected bibliography are enclosing this book of reference, illustrated with rare filmstills provided by Fred Camper.