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Andrew Kötting
'You don't ask to be born, do you? You're born, you live, you die. You're here, you're not, you are and you're not. And that's the end of it.' (from Visionary Landscapes cd)

Andrew Kötting is one of Britain's most intriguing artists, and perhaps the only film-maker currently practising who could be said to have taken to heart the spirit of visionary curiosity and hybrid creativity exemplified by the late Derek Jarman. Formally exploratory and aesthetically innovative, like Jarman he is also a great collaborator, building around his various projects a community of shared interest, while anchoring his prolific production in an ongoing report on the lives of those closest to him.

His twenty year oeuvre to date has moved from early live-art inflected, often absurdist pieces, ripe with their own internal logics and skewed mythologies, through darkly comic shorts, teasing out the melancholy surrealism at the heart of contemporary Englishness. His two resolutely independent features take landscape (rare among contemporary artists, he is most engaged beyond the urban) and journeys as the springboards for visually striking and structurally inventive enquiries into identity, belonging, history and notions of community.

But the film and video work offers just one incarnation of the themes and motifs to which Kötting is attentive. Throughout his work he has also written and performed, created for digital platforms and for the gallery (two- or three-dimensional pieces and installations) and is increasingly working directly with sound and music, in concert and on cd. Such activity reflects both his wide-ranging formal interests but also his refusal to adopt conventional ideas of closure around artworks in any medium. Ideas and images frequently migrate between media, being echoed and amplified in these translations. It is this openness, underpinned by an outlaw intelligence and pranksterish wit, that marks out his work as both energising and important.

Still from Jaunt by Andrew Kötting, 1995
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