New DVDs: Arthaus Art Documentaries

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Breaking Free of the Earth: Kazimir Malevich A film documentary about the life and work of the artist Kazimir Malevich. Revolution! In 1915 the Russian artist Malevich declared a Black Square on a White Background an icon of his times and thus founded a new form of art, liberated from objects – Suprematism. Supported by the Bolsheviks at first, his ‘formalistic’ art was soon considered counterrevolutionary. 50 years later, in 1989, the first comprehensive Malevich retrospective outside Russia was held in Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. It is here that Barrie Gavin outlines the artist’s creative phases and his life story. In doing so, he discovers the most diverse ‘isms’ of the 20th century and one of the most significant pioneers of abstract art.

The Collector Costakis George Costakis, a collector of Russian avant-garde art and a gifted storyteller, relates his own tale. Extensive footage of his collection and views of his Athenian villa are shown. One public housing flat in Moscow stood out above all others: the home of George Costakis, the foremost collector of early 20th century Russian avant-garde art. Its walls were crowded with banned and forgotten works by artists such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Chagall, Lissitzky, Rodchenko, and Kliun; public figures such as Edward Kennedy, Stravinsky, and Alfred Barr visited. Barrie Gavin met the collector in 1982 at his home in Athens. Costakis, a Greek born in Russia, passionately shares his story and those of the great Russian avant-garde artists. Their works are his legacy – without him, they would not have survived the political upheavals in Russia.

Eduardo Chillida “The fusion of modern aesthetics with Basque tradition in monumental works is what has made Chillida a legendary sculptor all over the world. Using wood, stone and iron, he created forms based on his surroundings, thus exposing their sculptural essence. Chillida even inspired the great Heidegger to write “Art and Space” which was published in 1969 and accompanied by 7 of the sculptor’s litho prints. This film shows Chillida at work, taking its viewers to towns like San Sebastián and Hernani. Alongside his major works, it also depicts the fascinating artist himself as he candidly philosophises on space, limits and materials.”

Julio Gonzalez “Friend, instructor and student of Picasso, a welder at Renault, a painter and goldsmith – Julio González was all of these. The Catalonian gained fame as the father of modern iron sculpture and as the creator of linear sculptures. Using a welding torch, he began making sculptures from iron and developed a formal language reduced to basic elements. Film-maker Barrie Gavin travelled from Paris to the Riviera via Barcelona, re-tracing González’ footprints. He visited art experts such as Margit Rowell and friends such as Hans Hartung, and in doing so introduces us to the life and work of one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century.”

On display now – available to borrow from 10th June


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