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I’ll be your mirror. Andy Warhol screen tests

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The longer I live, the more I love and respect Andy Warhol as an artist who reflected and shaped our modern world. I have spent countless hours reading books and watching documentaries. He was able to give objects and people the freedom to let them expose their true selves. He didn’t try to control things. He let processes happen. He let things evolve. I think this is the lesson we should come away with.

I remember seeing the Campbell’s soup cans at the MoMA. It was a surge of emotion. I was at once at home and in the presence of greatness. Sickly, Andy Warhol spent a lot of time home from school as a child. I remember the only time my mom made me tomato soup was when I was sick. She’d also give me a pack of saltines and I’d crumble them and put them in the soup.

Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) 1962. Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two canvases, Each canvas 20 x 16" (50.8 x 40.6 cm) MoMA
Andy Warhol
(American, 1928–1987)
1962. Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two canvases, Each canvas 20 x 16″ (50.8 x 40.6 cm) MoMA

Andy Warhol had the ability to be minimal and complex at the same time.

He was able to reflect changes in society in real time. This caused him to often be dismissed by his contemporaries. When we look at the work now, it is very much a part of history. He chronicled the rise of celebrity culture. He captured the mood of the nation with the Marilyn paintings immediately after her death. Likewise with the Liz Taylor drama on the set of Cleopatra. Stunned by the assassination of JFK, he created a series of screen printed paintings from 8 stills of Jackie O just before and after her husband’s murder. People tend to think Warhol’s work is all fluff, but it often had a dark and disturbing side.

It was around this time (1963) that there was a growing underground avant garde film scene. With his fascination with stardom, it was only natural he would be drawn to the ephemeral medium of film. This also changed the way he worked. He changed from the relative solitude of his firehouse studio to the endless coming and going of the factory.

Basically everyone who came to the factory did a screen test which consisted of Andy turning on the camera, walking away and then letting it run for around 3 minutes. In the end there were nearly 500 of them.

This Thursday, 2 June, is the GfZK opening for I’ll Be Your Mirror. Screen Tests von Andy Warhol. In cooperation with the Warhol Museum in Pittsburg,  25 screen tests have been selected and presented by Heike Geißler (text), Stefan Hurtig (set design) and David Voss (graphic design). The exhibition runs til 11 September.

For additional up to the minute info on openings, check art leipzig.

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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