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Jacqueline HoltClick here to Print this Page
David Lamelas

It is this inability to capture experiential truth that draws Lamelas to experiment with narrative and the construction of narrative. This is also apparent in To Pour Milk into a Glass (1972) in which each time the act of pouring milk is repeated, the shot is constructed differently. He says of the piece, '…I wanted to find a symbol for the container and its content to represent how the camera frames and what is shown on the screen.' In Film Script (Manipulation of Meaning) 1972, he created slides of the different camera shots of a simple script and had them projected in three different sequences alongside the film. This experimental approach with formal considerations is repeated throughout his work.

It is an approach which is also apparent in the first of the Time As Activity pieces, Time As Activity: Düsseldorf 1969. Again the construction is minimal. Lamelas takes three, locked off camera shots of different views of Düsseldorf. The shots themselves are pedestrian, bland, like cutaways for a documentary. The first is the morning view across a car park towards the block like construction of the Kunsthalle; the second an afternoon view of a fountain and the third a traffic intersection in the rush hour . Each shot is preceded by a title page announcing the location and length of the take The vacuity of the images and the duration of each shot forces the viewer to reflect on their own experience of watching the film and what is it they are looking at. As a document of the events passing before the camera for the duration of the time stated, Time As Activity throws up questions about the limits of the frame; what is contained within and outside of the frame, how the decision process is informed and the historical and political implications that are raised by this. Speaking of the piece in the context of its gallery exhibition, Lamelas said, 'My idea was to show both the film and the projector. It worked like a time projector, projecting another time than the real time.'

It is this exegetic desire to attempt to capture and draw out the meaning of time, to touch its very essence that pervades his work, transforming the film image into an existential meditation as the viewer is made aware of the passage of time. In the Time As Activity series, the way in which the films are constructed allows this loose formulation to be transposed across time and space, creating different resonation's with each new location. The timing of the Berlin piece, with its aerial perspective, becomes a profound reflection on the passing of time, that transcends individual experience and incorporates the great swathes of historical change, alongside the continuity and persistence of the human presence.

Lamelas now lives in Paris. He has just completed a new piece in the Time as Activity series in Warsaw to coincide with his exhibition at the Foksal Gallery. He has moved his home many times across Europe and the Americas. His own experience of assimilation of new cultures informing his work. These shifts of location and resettlement seem to create a momentum that creates a lightness of touch in his work; like a stone skipping across the water, defying its own gravity

Jacqueline Holt
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