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Guy Maddin

Hauntings I


June 1 – 10, 2012

Vernissage + Walk-in Screening – Wednesday, June 6, 8–11 p.m.

Exhibition description

FOFA will be haunted by a series of short film installations – utilizing a unique configuration of eleven screens – that are meant to invoke and appease the ghosts of cinema. Starting from the premise that every filmmaker has an unrealized project, a half-finished or abandoned film doomed to oblivion or left on the cutting-room floor, Maddin presents a series of shorts that explore the lost history of cinema.

At the time of the original production, Maddin said:

Cinema is a haunted medium, a projection of people, places and things not really present. As we know a film can summon before our eyes, like ghosts invoked from the beyond, performances from the past, performances by actors no longer with us, in settings changed forever. But when a movie is lost, as so many great works from the medium's earliest years are, it is a double haunting, for a misplaced film is an artwork consigned to limbo, a   narrative with no known final resting place. It wanders over unconsecrated ground, an unhappy spirit. Out of concern that the sensational TIFF Bell Lightbox might be too spanking new for the sad ectoplasms that really should be a movie venue's luminous principal denizens, I offered to haunt the joint. I presented then, to the facility's first throngs, projected resurrections of film history's most mourned-after lost masterpieces, remade as wispy fragments conjured in my own private studio seances. I had hoped these long-beleaguered spectres feel immediately at home in the TIFF BLB, and set themselves to the entrancing task at hand: haunting!

The installation has since been reconfigured with the FOFA in acute focus with an exhibition design by jake moore. The gallery’s own cinematic lineage and accompanying spectres will welcome those conjured by Maddin, as the FOFA was built on the foundations of the once great York Theatre.

View a pdf copy of the depliant.

About the artist

Guy Maddin (born February 28, 1956) is a Canadian screenwriter, director, cinematographer and film editor of both features and short films from Winnipeg, Manitoba. His most distinctive quality is his penchant for recreating the look and style of silent or early sound era films which has solidified his popularity and acclaim in alternative film circles.

While Maddin strives to recreate the styles and moods of early film melodramas, Weimar Republic German silent films, and 1920s Soviet agit-prop, his own personal style lies in his use of clichés, psychosexual situations, bizarre stories and humour. Reminiscent of the early work of American director David Lynch, it is this self-conscious and surreal merging of early film-making techniques with a post-modern sensibility that give Maddin’s films a style referred to as “Ultra-Conformist” or “Anti-Progressive”.

Maddin himself attributes his embarkation into the film world with his viewing of Luis Buñuel’s L’âge d’Or.

His film education came not with any formal training at a trade school, or his experiences at the University of Winnipeg, but with endless weekends of watching films with close friends John Paizs and Steve Snyder. Soon realizing that Paizs was making and performing in his own post-modern films and Snyder was teaching production at the University of Manitoba, Maddin eventually gave up his day-jobs as a bank-teller and house painter, deciding that he needed to put his own knowledge to work and step behind the camera, in his case the popular Bolex hand-wound 16mm camera.

Maddin’s first film was the Winnipeg Film Group assisted 1986 16mm short film The Dead Father. His first 16mm feature film was Tales from the Gimli Hospital. In 2007, Maddin became the first artist-curator of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. In this position, he performs the programming for their new “Curated by…” series.

As of fall 2007, Maddin will be teaching film at the University of Manitoba. Also in 2007, Maddin’s film My Winnipeg won the Best Canadian Feature award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Maddin’s films are often set in his home town of Winnipeg and are usually set in abstract 20th century historical periods. Themes in Maddin’s films frequently include unrequited love, murder, Soviet Russia, homoeroticism, incest, dismemberment and the workings of human impulse and subconscious.

Screening: Mr. Maddin's Neighbourhood

  • Short works by Guy Maddin and Friends
  • Various Directors | Canada 1995 – 2010 | 55min. | Video    
  • Curated by Kier-La Janisse
  • Wednesday, June 6, 8 p.m.
  • Sculpture Garden, in case of rain, the event will be moved into the York Amphitheatre EV1.615

For one night only, to coincide with the installation of, GUY MADDIN: HAUNTINGS 1, this short survey of work by Maddin and young directors with roots in Winnipeg who have been directly inspired by his visual palette will be presented free of charge in the open-air courtyard directly adjacent to the FOFA Gallery at Concordia University. This will allow attendees and passersby alike to take in the wondrous wintry pleasures of films by Guy Maddin (Heart of the World, Odilon Redon, Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair) along with Deco Dawson (FILM:dzama, The Fever of the Western Nile), Matthew Rankin (Barber Gull Rub, Hydro Levesque) , Heidi Phillips (Discovering Composition in Art), Irene Bindi (Black Chalk), Aaron Zeghers and more.


The project is but one component of the program:  LE SON, EN IMAGES: LE CINEMA AU SUONI.

This project was made possible with the support of Centre for Digital Arts, Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Centre des arts actuels Skol, Suoni per il Popolo, Kier-La Jannise, Laurel MacMillan: Head of Exhibitions: TIFF, John Verhaeven: TIFF, Peter Burton, Canada Council for the Arts: Media Arts Project Grant, Drew Barnet, Steve Bates, Andrew Harder, Philip Kitt, Olivier Longpré, Joshua Fourney, and of course Guy Maddin.

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