Photo News London: Rotimi Fani-Kayode at Autograph ABP and Jan Ŝvankmajer’s The Ossuary is screened as part of a Gothic Revival at the Institute of Contemporary Arts

© Rotimi Fani-Kayode, 'Black Friar', 1989, photo courtesy of Autograph APB

© Jan Ŝvankmajer, The Ossuary, 1970.

Scholar Kobena Mercer is presenting a keynote lecture, Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Themes, Inspirations and Influences, on the work of the late Rotimi Fani-Kayode at Autograph ABP in east London on Friday 3 June at 6:30 pm. This event is free but booking is essential. To book, follow this link.

The Ossuary, (1970, black & white, 10 mins) – a short film by Czech filmmaker and artist Jan Ŝvankmajer – will be showing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London on Saturday 11 June as part of a two-day event Template for Terror: The Revival of the Gothic. Running at the ICA, London from 11 June 2011 – 12 June, the two-day event comprises a series of presentations and discussions looking at “the prevailing influence of the Gothic on contemporary culture”. If you haven’t come across Ŝvankmajer, I urge you to explore his hugely influential works, including his first feature film, Alice (1987) – a brilliant adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. See over for more on these events…

The event “will reflect on the peculiar relationship between photography and time by focussing on the photographic studio as an imaginative space that is both ‘in’ time yet ‘outside’ its reach. Considering Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s influences among artists for whom sexuality is a medium for cross-cultural translation, Mercer will discuss how his photographs, created over twenty years ago, still take contemporary audiences by surprise.

“Joining the panel discussion will be artist and curator Sunil Gupta, who will discuss the context and politics of the time Fani-Kayode was working in London; and artist Robert Taylor, a close friend and collaborator, who will present his ‘Eulogy for Rotimi Fani-Kayode’, first written in 1990.”

The Ossuary by Ŝvankmajer is “devoted to the wonders of the Sedlec Ossuary, a small chapel located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic”. However, there are, I believe, a couple of versions of the film, so it would be interesting to know which one is being shown, as the original is now available. The commission to document the ossuary was  government one, but the 10-minute finished film was deemed “subversive” by the authorities and the narration was replaced with a shorter spoken intro and jazz soundtrack.

I visited this remarkable ‘bone chapel’ (as we called it), on numerous occasions when I lived in Prague from 1995-6, and on subsequent visits.  It features alongside another Ŝvankmajer short, see over, as part of Saturday’s Dark Vision, Haunted Time: Gothic in History, Gothic.

“From Dracula and Frankenstein to Twilight and Shaun of the Dead, contemporary culture continues to appropriate the stock themes of the eighteenth and nineteenth century gothic novel. This weekend of panel discussions, presentations and screenings will explore the societal impulse that draws us to the darker side of life, looking at the influence of the gothic in contemporary art, literature, film and music.” The second of the Jan Ŝvankmajer shorts is To Castle of Otranto, (1973-79, color, 17 mins). Ŝvankmajer’s short film based on Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto.

Presentations and discussions:
£8 full, £5 Members & students. Cinema 2 screenings: £5 all tickets

Day Pass Saturday: £15 full, £12 Member & students
Day Pass Sunday: £12 full, £8 Member & students

Filed under: Art Galleries, Artist Talks, Photographers, short films, Visual Artists Tagged: Autograph ABP, Dark Vision, Gothic, Haunted Time: Gothic in History, ICA, Inspirations and Influences, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Jan Ŝvankmajer, Kobena Mercer, Robert Taylor, Rotimi Fani-Kayode: Themes, Sedlec Ossuary, Sunil Gupta, Template for Terror: The Revival of the Gothic, The Ossuary

2 thoughts on “Photo News London: Rotimi Fani-Kayode at Autograph ABP and Jan Ŝvankmajer’s The Ossuary is screened as part of a Gothic Revival at the Institute of Contemporary Arts

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