TDTKs October 2010


The strange obsessive world of avant garde artist Yayoi Kusama as documented by Jud Yalkut is the core film in this programme. Her polka-dot obliterations bring to mind other ritualistic acts, performances and lifestyles  – there is a somewhat obscure thread connecting all these films. I leave you to join the dots….


Jud Yalkut                                    Clarence                                    (US / 16mm / 10mins / 1968)

A poetic montage of the ‘sculpture garden house’ created through the transmutation of cast-off objects by 67 year old hermit-builder Clarence Schmidt of Woodstock, New York. The film includes some of the only footage taken of Clarence living within the seven-story mountain interior of his creation.


Ben Russell            Black+White Trypps Number Three            (US / 35mm / 11mins / 2007)

The third part in a series of films dealing with naturally derived psychedelia.  Shot during a performance by Rhode Island noise band Lightning Bolt, this film documents the transformation of a rock audience’s collective freak-out into a trance ritual of the highest spiritual order.


Cecile Fontaine                        Japon Series                                    (FR / 16mm / 7mins / 1991)

Fontaine works with what can be called margins, the excluded parts of cinema, revindicating scratching, soaking, de-collage , filmmaking as a primarily plastic activity. A hand-made, amazingly collaged film of Japanese Buto dancers performing in Paris.


Maya Deren                                    Witches Cradle Outtakes            (US / 16mm / 10mins / 1944)

An unfinished film made in the Guggenheim Gallery during a surrealist “Art of this Century” exhibit. Assembled long after her death this film was inspired by both the architecture of the space itself and the art works it contained. Deren used her camera to delineate the magic of what she called these “cabalistic symbols of the twentieth century.”


Jud Yalkut            Kusama’s Self-Obliteration              (US / 16mm / 24mins / 1967)

“By obliterating one’s individual self, one returns to the infinite universe”.

Generally unknown until the late 90s, fame is not new to Yayoi Kusama. At one time when she was as well known as Andy Warhol among admirers of Pop Art. Kusama made headlines for street performances painting polka dots on nude men and women. She was largely forgotten by the art world after returning to Japan in 1973, suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
This film documents her actions and art from her time in New York in the 60s.