A place for reflection
There was no protest about the closure of the BFI Gallery a few weeks ago. I had the distinguished but melancholy honour to be the last exhibiting artist and we dedicated a symposium held on the gallery’s penultimate day to the staff losing their jobs.
The gallery was the only art space in London with the specific mission of “commissioning and showcasing artists’ films and videos and the moving image in its most contemporary forms”.
In its brief existence since 2007, it had shown the work of Michael Snow, Patrick Keiller and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, among others – that is, both film-makers working with art and artists working with experimental film and video.
Interestingly, while contemporary art is often lampooned for having no meaningful content, we have seen a movement characterised as a “documentary turn” in lens-based practices over the past 20 years.
Running parallel to the systemic neglect of serious investigative impulses in print and broadcast media, critical questioning of the world we live in has relocated to galleries and museums.