Quarantaine and You Know Nothing of My Work

Group Event

  • Screening & Talk

Event overview

In 2021 the Film London Jarman Award will tour across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with screenings of works by all the shortlisted artists followed by a series of live and online artists’ Q&As. The work will be available to see through seven major arts venues in Belfast, Nottingham, Bristol, Eastbourne, London, Cardiff and Glasgow.

Georgina Starr will be partaking in a special Q&A at Towner Gallery, Eastboune on Friday 1 October 2021, as well as appearing alongside all shortlisted artists at Whitechapel Gallery on 13 and 14 Novemeber 2021.

Quarantaine is Georgina Starr’s most ambitious film project to date. Its title refers to the French word for ‘forty’, and also alludes to the period of enforced isolation commonly known as quarantine (so-called because of its original forty-day timeframe). ‘Une quarantaine’ is also the subtitle of the 1976 film ‘Duelle’ by the French auteur Jacques Rivette, a leading light of the New Wave who has been a regular source of inspiration for Starr, particularly in his predilection for outwardly mismatched but symbiotically connected female leads, and his penchant for scenes and situations where worlds collide and opposites attract.

Quarantaine (2020) by Georgina Starr is co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, Leeds Art Gallery and Glasgow International with Art Fund support through the Moving Image Fund for Museums. This programme is made possible thanks to Thomas Dane Gallery and a group of private galleries and individuals. Supported by Arts Council England. 

Guy Oliver’s video You Know Nothing of My Work – its title cribbed from one of Woody Allen’s most famous films – proceeds from the premise that we now know more than enough about the crimes and misdemeanours of some of the world’s most prominent cultural icons that any lingering affection anyone might still have for their art will likely be deeply problematic, to say the least. As instances of sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour continue to come to attention, and as a number of notable offenders are outed, jailed or otherwise shunned, the question arises as to whether the contributions these figures have made to the cultural pantheon should be similarly sidelined or annulled. Does good work remain ‘good’ even when made by someone revealed to be a bad person? Or should it be binned, without fail, as soon as a reputation is shredded? In the midst of contemporary ‘cancel culture’, is there a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Or is the removal from circulation of a work by someone shown to be an abuser anything that anyone has cause to lament, when compared to the pain of the abused? These are questions that Oliver poses, less as a topic for round-table discussion than as a cue for a song – or actually several songs, all voiced by the artist himself, in a faltering baritone that belies the nature of his wit and his rage, whether lambasting movers and climbers in pop music’s hall of shame or taking aim at a wider rogues’ gallery of artists and entertainers – all of whom, he can’t help noticing, just happen to be male. As he jumps from tune to tune, Oliver adopts and adapts various aspects of archetypal male personae: morphing from genial regular guy to mansplaining MC, from lecturer to hectorer to heckler, from ‘Zelig’-like green-screen genie to artful dodger auditioning for a role in a Lionel Bart musical called ‘Guy Oliver’. A man of many faces, Oliver reports on the changing face of men – and finds it wanting. As the charge-sheet mounts, Oliver does not shy away from the potential accusation that he too, as a male of the species, albeit a far cry from the monsters he describes, might not be best placed to speak (let alone wax satirical) on a subject where other voices really need to be heard. Provocative and disarming in equal measure, You Know Nothing of My Work is everything you didn’t want to know about the male sex, and were unafraid to ask.

You Know Nothing of My Work was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2020: Hindsight, a collaboration between Jerwood Arts and Film and Video Umbrella.

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