Skip to main content
Lux OnlineHomeThemesArtistsWorkEducationEducationToursHelpSearch
Artists Artist's home pageArtists essay index page
Sotiris KyriacouClick here to Print this Page
Cordelia Swann
Apart from Super-8 and video, Swann's other favoured medium until around 1986 was tape-slide - sequences of slides accompanied by a soundtrack.

This way of combining sound and vision has now become almost obsolete and those who have not seen examples of such work may wonder as to whether it was different enough from film or video. In reality, its relative economy of means allowed very rich effects: 35mm picture quality versus 16mm or super 8, synchronicity (or not) of image and sound, controlled timing, portrait and landscape formats, fading or merging of images into one another and a general array of 'special effects' (superimposition etc) through relatively low-tech and low-cost means. Slide projection also offers both a plush iconographic potential, allowing the depiction and contemplation of long shot and detail - as well as the conscious placing of images in potential narratives.

Swann exploited this versatility in a range of works that utilised both found and made images. The most notable examples are those which utilise superimposition as a way of making the image both strange and eloquent. In Rosemarie (1983), for example, two images of women - one of the Virgin Mary, the other a 'Greek beauty' from a 1930's advertising campaign - are superimposed in different permutations in both landscape and portrait format. This overlapping of the sacred and the profane, the virgin and the whore, offers not just the more obvious readings of such a juxtaposition, but explores the way the images visually echo one another in Swann's seductive morphing of the superimposed images into a kaleidoscopic effect.

In All Kinds of Torture, the rape and pillage depicted in Delacroix's 'Death of Sardanapolis' is turned upon itself through the superimposition of different parts of the painting to achieve simultaneously beautiful and macabre Roscharch ink blot effects. Symmetry and abstraction interact so that new images are seen within images, the operatic soundtrack of Mozart's 'Il Seraglio' heightening the sense of drama and baroque excess.

Still from Rosemarie by Cordelia Swann, 1983
Go to top of                             page