Jim Allen

Hanging by a thread (2000)

10 min 23 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

A video work conceived by Jim Allen.

"I was interested in trying out sequential stuff so I built it ... and filmed it at the same time. I wanted first to suggest and then follow it with the real happening."

Artist's statement

The opening shot of the video shows a taut string which is drawn between what appears to be parts of a sculpture. The camera alights on a photocopied reproduction of an iconic still from the film Un Chien Andalou (1929).

From there, the video is constructed in sections; Pensamiento Mudo (Mute Thoughts); Caminhando (Walking) and Fantasmatica Del Cuerpo (untranslated).

In Pensamiento Mudo (Mute Thoughts) the artist brings together a sculptural assemblage in the gallery, sometimes presented in a large golden picture frame held together by clamps, or hanging from a string. Objects include bones, sticks, a variety of shoes.

In Caminhando (Walking) the camera pans through a field of upright sticks to which scraps of printed text phrases and illustrations of lips and ears are attached.

In Fantasmatica Del Cuerpo Allen assembles a series of objects at the intersection of the natural and artificial; fake grass, dead leaves and foliage, fake flowers, sticks wrapped in tin foil, a dead dog.

Near the end of the video Allen places a bird cage with two live parakeets beside the assemblage. Text appears on screen attributed to the Brazilian Constructivist artist Lygia Clark -

“Within my belly lives a bird,
within my breast a lion.

The latter is constantly
pacing from side to side.

The bird screeches, squirms
and is sacrificed.

The egg continues to involve
it, but now it is the beginning
of the other bird which is
immediately born after death.

There isn’t even an interval.
It is the feast of life and
death intertwined”

Other works by Jim Allen

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