By George Kouvaros
Until now, celebrated photographer Robert Frank’s bold and unconventional paintings as a filmmaker has now not been offered the serious discover it merits. during this well timed quantity, George Kouvaros surveys Frank’s motion pictures and video clips and areas them within the greater context of experimentation in American paintings and literature on account that international conflict II.
Born in 1924, Frank emigrated from Switzerland to the USA in 1947 and speedy made his mark as a photojournalist. A 1955 Guggenheim starting place fellowship allowed him to shuttle around the nation, photographing points of yankee lifestyles that had formerly bought little awareness. The ensuing booklet, The Americans, with an advent by means of Jack Kerouac, is mostly thought of a landmark within the background of postwar images. through the related interval, Frank befriended different artists and writers, between them Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso, all of whom are featured in his first movie, Pull My Daisy, that's narrated by way of Kerouac. This movie set the phrases for a brand new period of experimental filmmaking.
By interpreting Frank’s motion pictures and video clips, together with Pull My Daisy, Me and My Brother, and Cocksucker Blues, within the framework of his extra widely known photographic achievements, Kouvaros develops a version of cross-media background within which images, movie, and video are complicit within the look for clean kinds of visible expression. Awakening the Eye is an insightful, compelling, and, every now and then, relocating account of Frank’s decision to forge a private connection among the conditions of his existence and the media during which he works.
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Additional info for Awakening the Eye: Robert Frank’s American Cinema
47 In more recent years, Astruc’s pronouncements have played a central role in linking the use of video by filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, and Frank himself to the history and aesthetic agendas of the essay film. ”49 This inward turn lends films such as Lost Lost Lost a reflexive quality. “I’m trying to get to why I’m looking at what I’m filming,” Mekas explains in a lecture on his films, “why I’m filming it, and how I’m filming. . ”50 Mekas’s comments crystallize two overlapping elements that are central to Frank’s career: first, an acute investment in the image as a highly subjective response to the challenges of everyday life and, second, a deliberate undermining of the image’s tendency to consolidate experience.
Spontaneity describes how this shift in the purpose of art manifests itself in the artist’s approach. . ”12 The type of movement valorized in Olson’s essay is different from the incessant movement of goods and services central to the corporate liberal view of American life, in other words, the movement of efficient mass production generating more and more goods that, in turn, generate greater demand. . ”13 The attempt by Rosenberg, Olson, and others to charge the moment of creative production allows us to identify another principle central to postwar discussions about the nature and value of art.
Positioned above eye level, the camera surveys an ornate lampshade and a two-seater sofa, above which hangs a small upper-body portrait of a man. Continuing its pan around the room, the camera passes a large painting in which a man holding a brush 44 ◆ “TIME AND HOW TO NOTE IT DOWN” looks down at an easel. When the panning movement arrives at a section of blank white wall, a cross-fade shifts our perspective to a shot from ceiling height of a round table with four chairs. The presence of the lampshade and the two-seater sofa confirms that we are still in the same room as the previous shot, but viewing it from a different angle.