whitehot | July, 2008, Richard Bevan, Renoir Cinema, London
Richard Bevan, Zavtra (still)
35mm film loop projected for one hour
Renoir Cinema, London
Saturday 7 June
For one hour on a Saturday morning Richard Bevan presented his work ‘Zavtra’ (Tomorrow) at the Renoir cinema in West London. The screening took place as an extension of the artist’s MA degree show at the Slade School of Fine Art nearby. In one of the Slade’s lofty halls a work was temporarily staged, filmed and then dismantled. ‘Zavtra’ re-plays the moment of this staging and the brief hour long slot of its screening echoes the ephemeral sensibility of the piece.
This film harbours a stillness rarely seen on a cinema screen. A single scene is held throughout, overwhelming in its profusion of detail and ability to absorb our attention within a static frame. The grainy black and white texture intricately describes the architectural anomalies of this interior: the curve of a banister, a doorway overlooked by a marble statue and a window glimpsed almost out of shot. In monochrome relief there is a candour about these objects whose pale shapes summon a silent and powerful ambience. The photography bears a lightness of touch capable of making these details appear familiar as they must be to the artist himself. Such concentration on a single image is resolute, an anchor of sorts.
‘Zavtra’ is a work that it is in turn a record of a work; a testament to an intervention which now only lives on in the space of the screen.
This seemingly motionless image is dissected by a swathe of bands replicating a shaft of light from the window at the edge of the frame. The appearance is of light frozen and given form. Each ray is held, luminous and transparent, to be set in motion by a breeze or to shimmer as the daylight shifts.
Richard Bevan, Zavtra, photo: Catalina Niculescu
The work of the film’s subject is an elusive thing like the light it captures. Had the small invite card for the screening not pictured a roll of cellotape the central piece may have remained intangible. The sculpture is a simple construction composed of many carefully assembled lines of tape and such attention transforms the material into a strangely ethereal object. The intensity of light as an entity and a symbol becomes tempered by this simple, utilitarian substance.
How can a presence as vital and subtle as light be experienced? The form that Bevan shapes is further mystified by the distance of a lens. Here in the magnification of the cinema screen this fragile, translucent structure appears as the essence of what it sets out to capture. A cellotape path of light has become the sum of that light both real and conceptual.
Bevan’s film lasts only a few minutes but in looped sequence the details of this quiet scene are given the opportunity to emerge gently. The daylight turns casting its shadows and a faint glimpse of rustling leaves is noted outside the window panes. This compact world inside the camera frame binds to it imagined allusions to the space beyond the edges of the screen. Another point of reference is the evocative site of the work. The empty art school corridor where Bevan sites his work is charged with all the memory of the everyday activity that inhabits it; which like the falling light, shines intently and passes on.
Noah Becker: Editor-in-Chief