In Focus: Redmond Entwistle

Redmond Entwistle on the making of Walk-Through (2012), a film about Michael Asher’s ‘Post-Studio’ class at CalArts.

Mike Sperlinger     Why did you want to make Walk-Through (2012)?

Redmond Entwistle     I was at CalArts in the late 1990s and I sat in on Asher’s ‘Post-Studio’, but I didn’t participate very much – so in some ways making the film was a chance for me to take the class. After making my last film, Monuments (2010), I’d become interested in how discourse functioned, around both the production of art and the production of artists. With Walk-Through I wanted to explore that specifically in relation to my own experiences of the Whitney Independent Study Program and of Asher’s class. I was also aware of the growing status of ‘Post-Studio’; now Asher has stopped teaching, and a number of his students are teaching and making work, the history of that class is being explored and valorized in different ways.

There is this danger though, which I didn’t fully anticipate, of people reading Walk-Through as a portrait of the ‘Post-Studio’ class, whereas I think it’s more a portrait of a fictional space, a non-linear space of memory. There’s more ambiguity in the actual history of the class itself. 

Entwistle1.jpg

Walk-Through, 2012, film still. All images courtesy the artist

Walk-Through, 2012, film still. All images courtesy the artist

MS     When did Asher start teaching that class?

RE     In 1977. He took over from John Baldessari, who coined the term, but Asher gave it a very different spin. I think for him it was more a question of work that was no longer in the studio and that was in the exhibition space – he was interested in critiquing work as it was meant to be seen by the viewer. So ‘Post-Studio’ with Asher was based on these epic crits of exhibitions, which would sometimes last for 12 hours.

MS     Did you interview many ‘Post-Studio’ participants as part of our research?

RE     I chose to interview peoplewho were all in ‘Post-Studio’ during the time I was at CalArts, from 1998 to 2000. Then I condensed the interviews and turned the text into dialogue for actors, and had them read the lines in a reconstruction of a gallery at the school that I had aparticularly strong memory of. I also spent time looking through the CalArts archive, and read quite a lot around the school’s history. There’s an excellent book which really informed the film, called Artists in Offices (1979). It was written by the sociologist Judith Adler, who worked at CalArts but became disillusioned and began to see her role as documenting the changes in the school’s ethos. In the film, I streamline all of that into a narrative – a conceit – so that you start with this open institute, a Utopian moment when anything’s possible, and then there’s a slow transformation and compromise of these values, in a way that reflects the wider social shifts from the early 1970s tothe present.

MS     Towards the end of the film you include some shots of ucla and uc Riverside, which are institutions with quite different histories.

RE     At a particular point it seemed necessary to pull the film back out and hint that CalArts is just a placeholder. Essentially, it’s a film about social reproduction. It’s maybe a hint rather than a fully-fledged observation about the ecology of institutions in Los Angeles, but I wanted to broach broader questions about the marketization of higher education.

MS     It’s interesting to think about Walk-Through in relation to the ‘Pacific Standard Time’ project – the big survey of postwar Californianart across 60 galleries and institutions in Southern California that finishedin March this year.

Entwistle2.jpg

Walk-Through, 2012, film still

Walk-Through, 2012, film still

RE     A lot of the photographs used in ‘The Experimental Impulse’, a recent show at REDCAT in Los Angeles, are in my film too. And I think ‘Pacific Standard Time’ did have a side which led to the kinds of use of history as cultural capital that I was questioning. One of the things I wanted to do with the film, even its starting point, was to try to understand our obsession – my own included – with these documents of ephemeral practices, and what the nature of this nostalgia is.

MS     One of the first speakers in your film describes the ‘Post-Studio’ class as an occupation of the school, which holds it to its word. The language seemsvery loaded, and expands into a largerset of questions ...

RE     Yes, in the film I wanted to use the example of these ‘Post-Studio’ conversations to complicate the relationship between speech and democracy – the one-to-one correspondence between how an individual speaks and their political subjecthood, which in Occupy, for example, is held up as a principle. That’s not to say I don’t believe in that principle, but I think it’s moreof a proposition to be aimed forthan something to be assumed.

MS     At CalArts there’s also a particular history of filmmaking – with teachers there like James Benning and Thom Andersen – was that something which informed Walk-Through?

RE     In a way, I think I’m always trying to make work that I imagine the film department at CalArts would respect, but I just can’t! I keep making these weird, self-reflexive objects that are quite different. I even described Monuments, when I was first making it, as a kind of Benning film in which Robert Smithson wanders into the frame by mistake.

MS     What are you working onat the moment?

RE     I’m completing the script for a film and sound work on gis and the militant Left around Frankfurt in the mid-1980s. The two central characters are based on us soldiers who encountered and began to make experimental art while in the postwar us army, such as George Maciunas and Ben Patterson, and various memoirs of young women, such as Inge Viett and Birgit Hogefeld, who joined armed groups in Germany in the 1970s and ’80s.

Issue 149

First published in Issue 149

September 2012

Most Read

The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’...
In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed...
If artificial intelligence were ever to achieve sentience, could it feasibly produce art? (And would it be good?)
The punk activist-artists have been charged with disruption after they charged the field during the France vs Croatia...
27 educators are taking the London gallery to an employment tribunal, demanding that they be recognized as employees
In further news: Glasgow School of Art to be rebuilt; Philadelphia Museum of Art gets a Frank Gehry-designed restaurant
Highlights from Condo New York 2018 and Commonwealth and Council at 47 Canal: the summer shows to see
Knussen’s music laid out each component as ‘precarious, vulnerable, exposed’ – and his conducting similarly worked from...
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...
‘You can’t reason with him but you can ridicule him’ – lightweight as it is, Trump Baby is a win for art as a...
Anderson and partner Juman Malouf are sorting through the treasures of the celebrated Kunsthistorisches Museum for...
From Capote to Basquiat, the pop artist’s glittering ‘visual diary’ of the last years of his life is seen for the first...
‘When I opened Monika Sprüth Galerie, only very few German gallerists represented women artists’
Can a ragtag cluster of artists, curators and critics really push back against our ‘bare’ art world?
In further news: German government buys Giambologna at the eleventh hour; LACMA’s new expansion delayed
Gucci and Frieze present film number two in the Second Summer of Love series, focusing on the history of acid house
Judges described the gallery’s GBP£20 million redevelopment by Jamie Fobert Architects as ‘deeply intelligent’ and a ‘...
Is the lack of social mobility in the arts due to a self-congratulatory conviction that the sector represents the...
The controversial intellectual suggests art would be better done at home – she should be careful what she wishes for
Previously unheard music on Both Directions At Once includes blues as imposing as the saxophonist would ever record
In further news: Macron reconsiders artist residencies; British Council accused of censorship; V&A to host largest...
In our devotion to computation and its predictive capabilities are we rushing blindly towards our own demise?
Arts subjects are increasingly marginalized in the UK curriculum – but the controversial intellectual suggests art is...
An exhibition of performances at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, unfolds the rituals of sexual encounters
An art historian explains what the Carters’s takeover of the Paris museum says about art, race and power
Artist Andrea Fraser’s 2016 in Museums, Money and Politics lifts the lid on US museum board members and...
The Ruhrtriennale arts festival disinvited the Scottish hip-hop trio for their pro-Palestinian politics, then u-turned
The Baltimore’s director on why correcting the art historical canon is not only right but urgent for museums to remain...
Serpentine swimmers complain about Christo’s floating pyramid; and Hermitage’s psychic cat is a World Cup oracle: the...
The largest mural in Europe by the artist has been hidden for 30 years in an old storage depot – until now
Alumni Martin Boyce, Karla Black, Duncan Campbell and Ciara Phillips on the past and future of Charles Rennie...
In further news: po-mo architecture in the UK gets heritage status; Kassel to buy Olu Oguibe’s monument to refugees
The frieze columnist's first novel is an homage to, and embodiment of, the late, great Kathy Acker
60 years after the celebrated Brutalist architect fell foul of local authorities, a Berlin Unité d’Habitation apartment...
The British artist and Turner Prize winner is taking on the gun advocacy group at a time of renewed debate around arms...
The central thrust of the exhibition positions Sicily as the fulcrum of geopolitical conflicts over migration, trade,...
The Carters’s museum takeover powers through art history’s greatest hits – with a serious message about how the canon...
The 20-metre-high Mastaba finally realizes the artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s design
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’
US true crime series Unsolved takes two formative pop cultural events to explore their concealed human stories and...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018