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Ann Course
Fantasy goes rampant, and yet the more one becomes acquainted to the abstracted universe of Ann Course, the more certain images and motifs become familiar.

Her world is predominantly a private, even domestic one. The artist likes to reduce everyday life to its most banal and yet essential key moments; sex, conception, birth, food, waste and death. The clearest indication of any locus in her work is the family tomb, which recurs in more than one film. This uninhibited recycling of earlier drawings indicates certain mottoes or obsessions which haunt Course's work, but also provide it with a certain consistency. The films are conceived like an emotional diary, with sometimes recurring characters, the most obvious being the artist's parents and then her partner Paul Clark, who is also important as the credited co-author on some of the films. Not that the viewer needs any specific or biographical information to understand what is going on. Far from realistic, the images do carry a strong connection to the real world because they are triggered by it, and because the situations Course evokes should be recognisable enough to anyone who keeps an open view on the world. The nuclear family, and the most common manifestations of British society provide the context for Course's angry analyses.

Halfway his career, the Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer proclaimed that the western society would perish with a song on the lips. Ever since, the militant surrealist has refrained from using any superfluous music in his films. With one exception, Ann Course searches for particular, existing soundtracks to accompany each film. From the smooth, early disco of Moments and WhatNots to the classic bombast of Beethoven, her choice varies wildly. This extreme diversity already contains it's own dialectic, and in combination with the imagery, it is clear that, instead of soothing things over, the music only helps to accentuate the social concerns that motivate the images. One of the most clear cut examples of this is the sound of Big Ben on her one minute film The News, commissioned by for the Rotterdam Filmfestival. War, disease, poverty: Ann Course's private annotations are anything but escapist. Although her films usually don't last any longer than a short pop-song, and some of them actually are based on popular genre music, they are the opposite of music videos. As an exception to this rule, the images in Black Magic could be understood as a somewhat more direct illustration of the song text. But is also one of her most striking selections of music and certainly one of her most socially alert observations. As the lyrics go: " Poor people are poor people and they don't understand. A man's got to make whatever he wants and take it with his own hands. Poor people stay poor people and they never get to see, someone's got to win in the human race and if it isn't you then it has to be me."

Still from Black Magic by Ann Course in collaboration with Paul Clark, 2002
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