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Chris Welsby
By the mid 1970s, Welsby, unlike many of his filmmaking contemporaries, but in common with some video artists of the period, had declared his preference for the gallery over the cinema as an exhibition space, and he became one of the pioneers of the moving image installation in Britain, though he continued to make single-screen works.

His first important installation was Shore Line I (1977), shown at the Acme Gallery, London, in which six projectors were lined up along one wall with long loops of film strung from them to the ceiling, and projected a fragmented panorama of breaking waves along the opposite wall. Thus, a constructed image of patterns of natural movements, was faced by, (and of equal importance in Welsby's view), a transparent display of the technology used in its construction. He even welcomed as part of the process the shadows cast by the viewers on the screen as they penetrated the space. In Shore Line II (1979), a later version shown at the Tate, the six cameras looked down vertically at segments of a pebble-strewn shore as waves broke over them. For Welsby this second film; 'emphasises the element of chance, both illusionistically as a study of wave motion, and in actuality, as a feature of the projection event... At times the water appears to flow from one projector to another; at other times the edges of the frames form a barrier to the waves.' Chris Welsby (Booklet published by the Tate), 1981

First shown at De Apple in Amsterdam, Estuary (1980) was an extreme demonstration of Welsby's determination to identify and document all the elements at play in a seascape. While the film installation shows the view from a boat as it moves on its moorings in a tidal estuary, the twenty eight images that accompanied it included navigator's charts of the seabed, tide timetables, barometric readings, aerial and satellite photographs and other data alongside the artist's notes. Subsequent installations were simpler in layout if not content. Rainfall (1983-90), shown in Liverpool and at MOMA Oxford, was the first of several to introduce the screen as a horizontal plane, in this instance a mesmerising image of raindrops landing on the surface of the lake. Skylight (1986) returned to the six-projector format, but consciously introduced a new level of subjectivity. Its study of storm clouds and shutter-function (an irregular pattern of disruptive flash-frames caused by stopping the camera with the shutter still open while shooting) together with radio 'noise', gained an air of menace by it's association with the contemporary Chernobyl disaster, indicating how metaphor has gained increasing prominence in Welsby's later work.

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Stills from Sky Light by Chris Welsby (1986)
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