an evening with
Collage Artist/ Animator Lewis Klahr

  • Thur Mar 7
an evening with
Collage Artist/Animator Lewis Klahr

with collage artist & animator Lewis Klahr in person

Lewis Klahr

“Meticulously culling images, textures, and fleeting details from an array of mid-century ephemera—from superhero comic books to ladies’ magazine ads and from playing cards to telegrams—Klahr pieces together exhilarating and enigmatic collages imbued with hints of melancholy, romance and noir-tinged (mis)adventure.” (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Klahr often groups his short films into larger series and tonight we’ll show eight films from his recent, open-ended series, Prolix Satori, as well as a few other treats. Composed of mid-century American imagery such as advertising and comics, Prolix Satori is loosely structured around a repetition of visual motifs and thematic threads: melodramatic cartoon couples, post-war interiors and pop songs are woven into variations on love, loss and death. Klahr’s recent feature experimental film, The Pettifogger, will be shown during the cocktail reception at the Elegant Winter Party on March 2. It deals with a year in the life of an American gambler and con man circa 1963. Read about Klahr’s work in the March issue of Art Forum magazine. His visit is cosponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts.

PROLIX SATORI by Lewis Klahr

(2009-10, Digital Video, 60 minutes)

I have often worked in series before— Picture Books For Adults, Tales of the Forgotten Future, Engram Sepals, The Two Minutes to Zero Trilogy—but never quite like this. The main difference is that Prolix Satori is both open ended and ongoing with a variety of thematic focuses instead of a single, centralized one. As the series title suggests, it will include films that are very very short (under a minute) and films that are feature length. Prolix Satori will also contain various sub-series: this program offers several films from The Couplets (“Wednesday Morning Two A.M.”, “Sugar Slim Says” and all 3 Nimbus films). The Couplets" will generally, but not exclusively, organize themselves around the pairing of various pop songs and, just as in the songs lyrics, the theme of romantic love. — L.K.


April Snow
June 2010, 10 mins
A "Couplet" from my ongoing Prolix Satori series. I thought up the juxtapostion of these two pop songs while creating a mix-tape back in 1988 but never thought I'd work with them as a film soundtrack. Back then the taboo in experimental film circles about using music was so strong it seemed permanent.
A Thousand Julys
August 2010, 6:30 mins
This is a film that explores the two sided-ness of the comic book page. Although I'd been wanting to make this film for many years, I couldn't resolve the technical challenges with 16mm. However, digital video's sensitivity to low light allowed me to use a lightbox to harvest the superimpositions created when the two sides of a comic book page are backlit. Another "Couplet" from my ongoing Prolix Satori series.
The Nimbus Trilogy
Nimbus Smile
July 2009, 8:30 mins
Nimbus Seeds
July 2009, 8:30 mins
January 2010, 9:30 mins
”Three romantic entanglements play out in the the three ‘Nimbus’ videos, which extend Klahr’s interest in constructing almost legible narratives—but doing so in formalist terms that complicate and enhance the traditional pleasures of stories. The trilogy’s closer, Cumulonimbus, is a movingly mature account of grief with a puckish sting in its tail.” — Chris Stults Film Comment
Sugar Slim Says
January 2010, 7:00 mins
Music: "Lump" and "Like A Nurse" by Marc Anthony Thompson performed by Chocolate Genius from the album Swansongs
Same address, different buildings. "Put the rope in the can." Mark Anthony Thompson (aka Chocolate Genius Incorporated) and I became friends because our sons were classmates. He played me his new album and I showed him some of my recent films and we got excited about collaborating. This is the result. — LK
Wednesday Morning Two A.M.
July 2009, 6:30 mins
Deep Night — what the mind refuses to grasp the body understands. — LK
Tiger Award winner for Short Film at the 2010 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Wednesday Morning Two A.M. has been enthusiastically received, perhaps not only because it's among [Klahr's] most visually ravishing works but also because it's one of the most hopeful.” — Chris Stults, Film Comment
August 2009, 23:00 mins
In Greek mythology Lethe is the underworld river from which the dead drink to forget their life on earth. The first film in a possible trilogy of mythologically inspired pieces with female protagonists.— LK
“A straightforward narrative film by Klahr's standards, Lethe is a pulpy melodrama that incorporates sci-fi B-movie elements into a story straight out of a Vincente Minnelli women's picture. It also functions as one of Klahr's most sophisticated enactments of the intertwining of Thanatos and Eros, as if the inanimate materials that he is bringing back to life wish to return to their natural state of dead calm.” — Chris Stults, Assistant Curator of Film/Video, The Wexner Center for the Arts
Digital Projection color
1 hour 30 minutes
release year/country
2010-2012 USA