Tate Modern has had a long running film club, which over the past 10 years (+) has successfully explored themes surrounding London and its environs in relation to Tate. Initially created as a way to interact positively with the community, the group’s success has grown in audience and subject. As Tate embarks on a ‘new’ Tate with the opening of the extension in May 2016 this is the opportunity for the film club to also reinvent itself. For this initial start to the new season of film club viewings – Jessica Voorsanger has been commissioned to show 3 interlinked immersive film events exploring artists and their lives through the film sub genre of ‘docudramas’ also known as ‘biopics.’ Focusing on artists that have either shown or are in the collection of Tate. This will mark the bringing together of Tate Modern’s Film Club and Tate Britain’s Soapbox to work together to co-create events that engage with film (and their audiences) in alternative ways.
The 3 events will explore the ideas surrounding Secrets & Lies (the title being a reference to the Mike Leigh film of the same name). There will be 3 events (27 March, 22 May & 31 July 2017). These events will each explore the concept of the life (and/or culture) of one/or many artist(s) in three distinct ways. As through storytelling, especially within a ‘Hollywood’ drama scenario, the question of how much is actually true in the depiction of real life? Is anything exaggerated to make the story more engaging? As with documentaries, which we generally view as ‘truth’ can give a biased view of the director through the selection of interviewees and editing.
The1st event featured Frida Kahlo. The Salma Hayek film ‘Frida’ was aired. Aside from the film showing there was a quiz with questions associated with Frida Kahlo. The audience members were each given a ‘lucky bag’ which comprised of the elements to ‘dress up as Frida’ and a bespoke newspaper for the event. This first event was focussing on the ‘biopic’.
The 2nd event featured Pablo Picasso. The were three films aired: ‘Trimming Picasso’ (a docudrama by filmmaker Tim Newton), ‘Meeting Picasso’ (a documentary by filmmaker Tim Newton), and ‘Surviving Picasso’ (a docudrama starring Anthony Hopkins, the full feature was not aired). Aside from the films being shown there was an ‘In conversation’ between the filmmaker Tim Newton and Jessica Voorsanger. There was a quiz with questions associated with Frida Kahlo. The audience members were each given a ‘lucky bag’ which comprised of the elements to ‘dress up as a Picasso Cubist painting’ and a bespoke newspaper for the event. This second event was focussing on the differences between the biopic and the documentary.
The 3rd event will feature Peggy Guggenheim. The documentary ‘Peggy Guggenheim” Art Addict ‘will be shown. The focus of this event will be on documentaries. This event will take place in late July 2017.
Mystery Train was a large project that culminated in both an artist book (edition of 200) from the ICA and a series of posters for Art on the Underground. She was commissioned by the ICA, in partnership with Westminster’s charity Pursuing Independent Paths, to work with young adults with special needs to make transport accessible. The publication is downloadable from the ICA websitehttp://www.ica.org.uk/19010/ Mystery-Train/Mystery-Train- publication.html
TV Swansong was an Internet based exhibition curated by Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie, the theme centred on television moving over to the Internet. Jessica Voorsanger’s contribution was collaboration with CBBC’s (Children’s BBC Television) SMart. SMart was a children’s art making TV programme. They filmed a segment at The LCCA (Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art, the gallery that Jessica runs with her husband, Bob & Roberta Smith). The segment that was filmed centred on a project that Jessica devised and was later broadcast on the BBC. The result of the airing was to create a competition for other children to send in their artworks culminating on the Swansong TV live broadcast, The Turner Prize for Kids, which was presented by TV Arts presenter Matthew Collings.
Bardney 1972, 2004 was a commissioned projec for the first exhibition curated by Beacon in Lincolnshire. Creating site-specific works at historical locations in Lincolnshire, Jessica Voorsanger re-created the Bardney folk festival of 1972 where over 60,000 visitors decended upon the National Trust site of Tupholme Abbey in Bardney, Lincolnshire. She created a stage, with speakers and had the music played at the festival playing to the, now empty, field. The performers at the original festival included James Taylor, The Slade, Roxy Music & Genesis.
Hearing Voices, Seeing Things was a commission project from the Serpentine Gallery in association with NELMET (North East London Mental Health Trust). Jessica Voorsanger was lead artist in the project with Bob & Roberta Smith. They invited a small group of artists to work with service users throughout North East London to either make collaborative or inspired artworks that were later shown in the Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) at The Serpentine. A facsimile LCCA was built on the grounds of The Serpentine Gallery, which housed the exhibition in 2006. The artists were: Karen Densham, Andy Lawson, Victor Mount, Mandy Lee Jandrell, Sally O’Reilly with Mel Brimfield, Jessica Voorsanger & Bob & Roberta Smith. Jessica Voorsanger worked around the theme of humour. For the exhibition she created two text pieces of jokes, as part of the Bead Work Series . One of which came out of one of the workshops by David Berlevy and the other by the poet John Hegley. At the opening event, part of Jessica’s work, there was a stand-up comedy performance that included: Simon Munnery, Noble and Silver, Zoe Lyons, Nick Doody & Matt Dyktynski. The event was called ‘Whats’s So Funny?’
Peckham Heroes celebrates Peckham’s historical and famous residents in a lively and innovative new artwork where the gallery is transformed into a warm, relaxed and sociable space that encourages active participation.
Jessica Voorsanger transformed Peckham Space into a drop in day-time karaoke bar dedicated to ten personalities that have a connection with Peckham. These heroes range from Rio Ferdinand to John Galliano and have been chosen by local young people from the Harris Academy who have worked with Voorsanger on the project.
Visitors were able to dress up in one of the bespoke costumes and wigs made by the artist and perform their hero’s theme song on a specially constructed stage. A video work featuring the artist and a range of other performers will be projected when live performances are not taking place.
The Peckham Heroes are: Ashley Walters (actor & musician: So Solid Crew, Adulthood); Boris Karloff (actor, Frankenstein); Jo Brand (Comedian); Chris Eubank (boxer); Mary Phillip (International footballer); Michael Caine (actor: Alfie, The Italian Job); Rio Ferdinand (International footballer); Olivia Coleman (actress: Peep Show, Rev); Thomas Tilling (inventor of the bus stop as part of his major horse-bus service which commenced in Peckham.