Skip to main content
Lux OnlineHomeThemesArtistsWorkEducationEducationToursHelpSearch
Artists Artist's home pageArtists essay index page
Diana BaldonClick here to Print this Page
Mark Aerial Waller
At Tate Modern in 2007, Waller went as far as driving a sense of fear into the seated audience with his counter-cinematic staging of La Société des Amis de Judex II.

Described as 'a fearless investigation of the confluence of pop and surrealism, via 1960s TV series Batman and Louis Feuillade's legendary silent cinema serial Fantômas'. This work opened with a rare interview between the post-Surrealist and proto-New Wave filmmaker Georges Franju, Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, co-writers of the 1911 book from which Fantômas takes its inspiration. Their popular French feature film Judex (1963) continued the fortunes of Feuillade's thriller films Fantômas (1913-14). Franju inserted a certain nostalgia for a time of anarchic iconoclasm, although the costumes, acting performances and mises-en-scène evoke an almost 1960s Batman-esque feel.

Possibly inspired by this, Waller included a passage from Batman's first-season episode Smack in the Middle (1966) that showed The Riddler smuggling laughing gas through air ducts to steal some jewels from a Moldavian Mammoth. At the end of this sequence, with an élan repeating Riddler's wicked act, Waller also filled the auditorium with smoke, provoking a few instants of panic. From the dense mass of smoke a couple of characters in disguise emerged, standing between the projector and the screen which continued running silently. The former wore a mask and read Guillaume Apollinaire's 'poisonous' poem Les Conchiques (1907); the latter, dressed in a white fencing outfit and balaclava, recited the poem Pandora's Ark, Dream Key Zodiac about a contrived projection apparatus.

In the artist's view, these intrusions are agents dividing the space and time of film viewing, they remind the public that the fluidity of gas is like that of celluloid, at the threshold between physical object and reproduced reality.

Go to top of                             page