Steve Farrer’s Ten Drawings (1976) is a selection of ten short films. For each film, fifty strips (45cm) of clear film were laid side by side to make a rectangle 45cm by 80cm (50 x 16mm). A geometric shape was drawn or sprayed onto each rectangle, then the strips of acetate were joined together, starting from the top left-hand corner (beginning) and joining the bottom of the first to the top of the following and so on until the bottom right hand corner (end) to produce the film. The soundtrack is created by the image carried over into the optical soundtrack area.
The surface marks can manifest themselves in three ways: a drawing (drawing of a film); a film (film of a drawing); a soundtrack (sound of a drawing).
Ten Drawings drew direct references from drawing and the mechanics of projection, with the film screening often accompanied by the original film-strips. The projected film operating as a compilation of abstract images offering an equivalence of the whole surface of a drawing, satisfying Farrer’s intention to “deal with a film in one stroke; to say, well – slash – I’ve dealt with beginning, middle and end in one go.” Ten Drawings is not a chronologically sequential work and can be shown with the film-strips in any order.
In exhibiting both film and drawings in the same space, the transitory nature of film (the moving ‘drawing’) and the physical drawing are juxtaposed, creating an idiosyncratic dialogue between film physicality and the ephemeral existence of drawings projected in fragmented form.
Artist profiles and statements
Steve Farrer (b.1951, Manchester) is a visual artist and experimental filmmaker. After working in the ‘dye stuff’ section of ICI, Manchester, he studied at North East London Polytechnic and Royal College of Art, London. He was London Filmmakers’ Co-op workshop organiser and cinema organiser in the late 1970s. Inventor of The Machine, a shutterless spinning film camera/projector, many of his installations similarly rely upon hand-crafted technology to deconstruct the spectacle of cinema. Notable presentations of his work include: ‘…fellow travellers’, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2020; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, (2016); ‘Film in Space’, curated by Guy Sherwin, Camden Art Centre, London, 2013; ’One More Time’, London Metropolitan University, London, 2011; ‘Expanded Cinema’ Tate Modern, London, 2009.