How does a filmmaker continue to create unique pieces of work over 50 years? John Smith began his career in the 1970s, enabling us to appreciate the evolution of avant-garde cinema in his works. Developing his ideas and methods decade by decade until today, he has experienced the change from analog to digital, the evolution of different technologies and media, and the arrival of new ways of experiencing cinema outside theaters.
In this masterclass, John Smith will present and discuss a wide selection of excerpts and complete short films which demonstrate the development and creative diversity of his practice between 1972 and the present day.
John Smith was born in Walthamstow, London in 1952. He studied at North-East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, after which he became an active member of the London Filmmakers’ Co-op. Inspired in his formative years by conceptual art and structural film, but also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed a diverse body of work that subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary, fiction, representation and abstraction. Often rooted in everyday life, his meticulously crafted films playfully explore and expose the language of cinema.
Since 1972, Smith has made over sixty film, video and installation works that have been shown in independent cinemas, art galleries, museums and on television around the world. His films have been awarded major prizes at international film festivals in Oberhausen, Leipzig, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Graz, Geneva, Uppsala, Pamplona, Bordeaux, Lucca, Palermo, Split, Cork, Seoul, Ann Arbor and Chicago. He received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2011, and in 2013 he was the winner of Film London’s Jarman Award. His work is held in the collections of Tate Gallery (UK); Arts Council England; Museum of Modern Art (USA); Muzeum Sztuki, (Poland); Le Plateau (France); Kunstmuseum Magdeburg (Germany) and many other public collections.
John Smith currently lives and works in London.