Thursday, June 16, 2011

Screen Tests (1964-1966)

When most people think of Andy Warhol, they think of faces. Marilyn, Liz, Mao, etc. In the 70s, commissioned portraits constituted a significant portion of Andy's total output. As beautiful, iconic and intellectually stimulating as some of these paintings are, they're still just surface. There is no emotional connection to the subject. For that you need to see Warhol's the Screen Tests.

The concept was simple: sit someone on a stool, point a light at them, point a camera at them, turn on the camera and let the film run out. But thanks to an inspired decision to project the films in slow motion (16 fps) the result was anything but simple. Even the tiniest motion is rendered epic through the projector. Every movement becomes significant and meaningful. These are not icons, these are human beings.

Though Warhol intended these to be screened silently, Plexifilm was recently granted permission by the Warhol Estate to set 13 of the nearly 500 known tests to music. Pretty amazing stuff...and streamable on Netflix.

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