Morgan Fisher, 1977 © Friedl Kubelka

In Person:

Morgan Fisher

May 9 and 10, 2012


From its early beginnings in the 1960s, the work of Morgan Fisher (born in 1942 and based in Los Angeles) has revolved around an analysis of "film’s systems" – its aesthetic conventions, processes of production, and technological conditions. The singular fascination of Fisher's films results from a surgical precision, laboratory-like assembly and extreme attention to detail that make for a radically subjective, partly autobiographical gesture – marked by a dry sense of humor.
The central motif for the artist is the attempt to make the cinematic unconscious visible and to illuminate the relationship between the widely dominant form of "entertainment" films and independent film work. What parameters are set by the industry with regards to the film material itself, the equipment used, and the aesthetic codes that are chosen? Fisher has amassed experience in both worlds: in the early 1970s he worked as an editor and supporting actor in films by Roger Corman, among others, while at the same time creating a film that brings its own means of production in front of the camera (the Möbius-strip-like Production Stills).
What often appears tricky in Fisher's films turns out on closer inspection to be a fully logical approach and type of analysis. Engaging with discarded 35mm footage (in the avant-garde classic Standard Gauge from 1984), Fisher's hands and voice trigger a reflective journey which leads from the smallest element (a frame showing a "China Girl") to the largest framework (film as industrial product). This pars pro toto also finds itself in Screening Room (1968; a “Vienna 2012 version” of the film has been commissioned by the Film Museum specifically for this presentation). Screening Room is both a conceptual work and a series of physical artefacts – an "expanded film" in which the walk towards the screening room turns into a philosophical reflection on cinema as an imagination machine: "Representation is dissolved into material." (Fisher)
Morgan Fisher will present an artist’s talk and participate in Q&As at both screenings. The exhibition of works from 1968 to 2012 is held in collaboration with the Generali Foundation. The Generali exhibition, "Morgan Fisher: The Frame and Beyond (March 2 to July 29, 2012) illuminates the relationship between painting, drawing, video, and film in Fisher's work. For more information:
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