Internal Systems: Films by Coleen Fitzgibbon

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 6 p.m. | Coleen Fitzgibbon in person!

Internal System (Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1974). Image courtesy the artist.

Internal System (Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1974). Image courtesy the artist.

“…Brilliance waiting to be revisited.” — Holly Willis, LA Weekly

Between 1973 and 1975, Coleen Fitzgibbon, operating under the name “Colen Fitzgibbon,” produced a series of films that stand as some of cinema’s most rigorous explorations of the medium.  Associated with the Structural film movement and New York’s No Wave scene, Fitzgibbon’s films emphasize time, duration, and their own flickering mechanics while also hinting at a deeper socio-cultural meaning. This evening, the SAIC alumna will present four of these films, including her 1974 standout, Internal System, whose recent restoration is attracting fresh acclaim.  In the words of curator Andréa Picard, the film is “a vast, minimalist study of the monochromatic frame, a sort of sublime testing of film’s internal logic, its emulsive permutations and light sensitivities.” Also on the program: Fitzgibbon’s scratchy audio-visual collage Found Film Flashes (1974); the gorgeous FM/TRCS (1974) which uses the process of rephotography to transform the image of a woman dressing into abstract orbs of color and light; and the witty Restoring Appearances to Order (1974), featuring a short sequence of Fitzgibbon scrubbing a dirty sink to suggest the labor of art-making. Special thanks to Sandra Gibson for her generous assistance with this program. Coleen Fitzgibbon, 1973-75, USA, 16mm, ca. 75 min (plus discussion).

COLEEN FITZGIBBON (1950, Illinois) was active as an experimental film artist under the pseudonym “Colen Fitzgibbon” between the years 1973-1980. A student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Independent Study Program, she studied with Owen Land (aka “George Landow”), Stan Brakhage, Yvonne Rainer, Vito Acconci, and worked on film projects for Dennis Oppenheim, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Les Levine.  She formed the collaborative X+Y with Robin Winters in 1976, the Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince, and Winters in 1979 and is best known for co-founding the New York based Collaborative Projects, Inc. (Colab) in 1977, along with artists Kiki Smith, Jenny Holzer, Liza Bear, Betsy Sussler, and Tom Otterness, among others.  Fitzgibbon has screened her work at numerous international film festivals and museums, including the EXPRMNTL 5 at Knokke-Heist, Belgium; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Anthology Film Archives, Collective For Living Cinema, and Millennium Film Workshop, all New York City, and most recently at the Toronto Film Festival (2009) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Fitzgibbon currently resides in New York and Montana.

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