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Malcolm Le Grice

Berlin Horse

Richard Saltoun, London

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Artist
Malcolm Le Grice
Title
Berlin Horse
Year
1970
Duration
6 min 40 s
Format & Technical

Double channel, 16 mm film transferred to HD video, b/w and colour, sound
Edition of 10 + 1 AP (joined with the 16 c-type prints)

  • Music: Brian Eno

A carousel of images which overlap and transform into a brightly coloured finale of two sequences: a horse being exercised and an early 20th century newsreel of horses being led from a burning stable.

“The film began with a sequence of 8mm film I shot of a horse being exercised in the village of Berlin near Hamburg, northern Germany. This was refilmed from the screen in 16mm black and white, running the film at different speeds and directions, and with the camera at different angles to the screen. I then made a series of short loops that were superimposed with the same material in negative, but where the loops were of different lengths, so they produced a phase shift. The material generated in this way was then re-coloured using small pieces of theatrical lighting colour filters which I pulled by hand through the contact film-printer installed at the London Filmmakers Co-operative. The material produced was then used to make multiple superimpositions. It was finally combined with some early newsreel material of horses being led from a burning barn that were treated to the same colour transformation processes. There was no initial plan to the work – it developed as I responded to the processes of transformation – rather in the manner of a Jazz improvisation on a theme. It is a kind of visual poetic drama where the sequence of image transformations and the ‘narrative’ are integrated as the content. The music was made for the film by Brian Eno who at the time was exploring, in sound, a similar use of loops that changed their phase shift.”

(Le Grice, Malcolm, ‘Berlin Horse’ in Moure, Gloria, ed., 2004. Behind the facts. Interfunktionen 1968-1975, 416)

Stills