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The Painter Sam Francis

Ein Film von Jeffrey Perkins

Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus
23. Mai 2017, 19 Uhr

85 minutes, Shot on 16mm, Super 8, Hi-8, DV
© 2008 Body and Soul Productions

Forty years in the making, ‘The Painter Sam Francis’ is artist Jeffrey Perkins’ lyrical and intimate portrait of a friend, mentor, and leading light of American abstract art. The film retraces Francis’ life and career from his childhood in California to his artistic maturation in post-war Paris, his time spent in Japan, and his return to the United States.  Hinging on an interview that Perkins conducted with Francis in 1973, as well as extended scenes of the artist at work in the studio, the film provides deep insight into a man for whom creativity was a powerful life-sustaining force.  Interviews with friends, family, and fellow artists - including Ed Ruscha, James Turrell, Bruce Conner, Alfred Leslie, and others - illuminate a mysterious and complex personality, and its reflection in a body of work that is simultaneously diverse and singular.  For Francis, art was a path to transcendence; for Perkins, Francis was art.  ‘The Painter Sam Francis’ is a labor of love, a moving portrait of a man, and a tribute to the power of art.

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JEFFREY PERKINS, Producer - Director

Jeffrey Perkins is an artist and filmmaker living in New York City.  In 1963, while stationed by the US Air Force in Japan, he struck up a chance friendship with Yoko Ono, which led to an association over the ensuing decades with John Lennon, George Maciunas, Nam June Paik, and the Fluxus Art Movement.  After moving to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, Perkins worked for the Fox Venice Theater, managed Cinematheque 16, and co-founded the psychedelic light show group Single Wing Turquoise Bird, which performed with the Velvet Underground, Yardbirds, Cream, Sly and the Family Stone, and others.  It was in Los Angeles that he developed a creative relationship with abstract expressionist painter Sam Francis.  Making film and audio recordings that date from 1968 to 1977, Perkins created an expansive collection of footage of the artist, both at work in the studio and in intimate conversation.

In 1981, Perkins returned to New York, where for the next twenty years he drove a taxi to support his artistic endeavors.  On the occasion of Francis’s death in 1994, Perkins screened his footage at a memorial program hosted at Anthology Film Archives in New York.  It was then that he returned to the project with the support of Jonas Mekas, who challenged Perkins to revisit and give shape to the remarkable footage that had lain idle for many years.

In the last decade, Perkins has traveled worldwide to present his visual, audio, and conceptual works, as well as to film interviews with friends, family, and professional associates of Francis, gathering material for the now completed documentary ‘The Painter Sam Francis’.

Jeffrey Perkins   Foto: Michael Pilz

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