Episodes-Interposed

1979

29 mins remastered 1993

 

"When Partridge began to explore the then new-fangled edit-suite in the late 1970's, he incorporated all these elements and added to them the montage film tradition (suitably altered) at a time when extreme duration and the single take were still seen as defining the nature of video as against cinema. This was far-sighted in staking out the artist's claim to, so to speak, cut and paste videotape well ahead of its commercial exploitation in advertising and television. Episodes Interposed, 1979, whose denotative title affirms montage as an act of cutting into time and action, is a good example.

Punctuated by a series of 'Preambles', which both structure and ironize its minimalist sequences, this video opens with a communicative act - a ringing telephone seen from back, front and sideways views - which gradually breaks down the symmetry of sound and image. A second sequence of a walking woman (a key theme in art from Duchamp to Giacometti and Michael Snow) asserts actual space, here an art school corridor, and then depicts closely related staggered shots of a woman repeatedly crossing her legs until a final glimpsed moment of voyeuristic revelation. An 'Intermission' of clouds of steam set against a cloudy sky takes us away from these intense interiors and also provides a natural metaphor for the passage of time. The final sections create colour patterns from men's shirts which then become 'colour checks' as a woman describes colour associations based on the light primaries of red, blue and yellow. The broken sounds which open the video here become continuous and echo-like, akin to the live feedback words of Boomerang, 1974, by the US sculptors and video pioneers, Richard Serra and Nancy Holt. Woman as object of the gaze here becomes speaking subject, guiding the viewer's institutions within the formal scheme of the work."

-Al Rees

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© 1999 Stephen Partridge

© 1999 AL Rees