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Artist On Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland

Directed by Kay Armatage
Canada, 1987 (documentary, 54 minutes, colour, English)

Film Description:
"A pioneer of feminist avant-garde cinema, Joyce Wieland has explored the crux of nationalism, feminine sexuality and ecology for more than thirty years in films such as her influential Rat Life and Diet and Reason over Passion. This richly suggestive portrait surveys Wieland's involvement in structural filmmaking with Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton in the 1960s and her reinvention of women's crafts in her artwork."
-- Women Make Movies (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Produced by: Barbara Tranter
Cinematography: Babette Mangolte, Peter Mettler
Film Editing: Petra Valier
Production Company: Dominion Pictures

Quotes by the Director

"[In Artist On Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland] I made every attempt to situate Joyce [Wieland] as a heroic figure. For instance, the interviews with Joyce are very formal and part of the conscious design. [...] She is an ordinary woman in ordinary circumstances of a certain age, but the combination of these factors with the heroic setting turns the table on expectations."
-- Kay Armatage (source)

"The central structuring devices of the film [Artist On Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland] are the direct address of the artist to camera/audience and the multiple, fragmented and unscripted voice-overs which combine various discourses: personal, academic, descriptive, analytical, and something approaching the poetic. In contrast to Wieland's voice, which is mixed clearly, completes sentences, speaks alone, and is corporealized (synchronized to her lip movements on screen), the unidentified, disembodied and inter-cut voice-overs are treated with an hallucinatory reverb and embedded in multiple tracks including sounds from Wieland's films, additional sound effects, and music. The intended effect is of contrasting modes of address, identification, and subjectivity."
-- Kay Armatage (source)

Quotes about Artist On Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland

"Artist on Fire is an astoundingly dynamic piece of filmmaking. [...] In a way, Artist on Fire heralds a new form of art criticism, albeit in cinematic form. While there is a lot of commentary in the film—friends and acquaintances of Wieland discuss her and her work in voice-overs—Armatage is not interested in critical or historical judgements. What we get, rather, is a total—visual, aural, domestic, metaphysical—immersion in Wieland's world."
-- Carole Corbeil (source)

"Neither documentary nor art video but something in between. [Kay] Armatage gives us a better sense of the late artist than do most of the books devoted to Wieland. At one point the painter confesses her love for the way artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo responded to the light around Venice. 'It takes a lifetime,' Wieland sighs, to find one's own light."
-- Peter Goddard (source)

"[Kay] Armatage had begun thinking about a film on Joyce [Wieland]'s work during the winter she had screened old film footage with her. Joyce readily agreed when Armatage proposed the film. She seemed somewhat nervous during the filming and was always very, very conscious of her appearance, but otherwise Joyce was cooperative—she understood the filmmaking process."
-- Jane Lind (source)

Bibliography for Artist On Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland

Articles from Newspapers, Magazines, or News Websites

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