Sunday, May 10, 2015

Vincent van Gogh's Brixton Abode

The timing of this documentary short's North American premiere could not be better.

Last week, a Chinese-speaking bidder at a Sotheby's New York art auction claimed Van Gogh's "L'Allée des Alycamps" for $66 million. Tonight, at the Seattle Art Museum, as part of of Black Box Festival's Blurred Edges: Non-Fiction program, patrons will get to enjoy UK film Yes, These Eyes Are the Windows.

The movie is all about 87 Hackford Road, a home in London once occupied by van Gogh. A Chinese buyer who acquired the property in 2012 (sight unseen) was said to have mused at the time: "I can't afford a painting, but I can afford his house." The Dutch artist lived in the home for a year, at ages 19-20; several decades ago, a sketch drawing he made of the home was discovered and authenticated.

Saskia Olde Wolbers, an artist born in the Netherlands in 1971, made the historical film investigation piece last year in partnership with UK's Artangel and the 2014 London Festival of Architecture. She has stated that she was interested not so much in the daily rote of van Gogh but rather the examination of the more ephemeral stamp made by such famous GPS footsteps.

From the program notes:

Olde Wolbers weaves a fictional narrative through the house following the mythologizing of van Gogh and the increasingly strong grip that his ghostly presence took on the destiny of the house and its owners. The film’s voiceover by Tom Brooke is told from the point of view of the house itself and is filmed in both the decaying building and in model sets that Olde Wolbers created in her studio. Last summer the house was host to Olde Wolbers’ collaborative site-specific sound installation commissioned by Artangel.

The Black Box Festival is curated by Aktionsart founder Julia Fryett and Anne Couillard, a recent NYC transplant who holds a BA, Master's and PhD in art history from the Sorbonne. Check out a slide show of the featured van Gogh London home here.

[Yes, These Eyes Are the Windows]

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