In Conversation: George Clark unlocks the ICO’s archive

This event has now ended. You can watch a recording here.

Curator, artist and writer George Clark joins Catharine Des Forges and Selina Robertson in the ICO’s office to explore the archive and exhibition histories of one of the ICO’s most memorable artist moving image curatorial projects, ICO Essentials: The Secret Masterpieces of Cinema from 2008.

Comprising of six themed programmes of artists’ films, including newly restored classics and influential gems, George worked with six leading curators to bring this ground-breaking season to UK cinemas. Join us as we re-visit the project’s ‘behind the scenes’ histories that changed the way artist film and video was seen and experienced in the cinema.

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About ICO Essentials

Released in UK cinemas in 2008, ICO Essentials: The Secret Masterpieces of Cinema was a ground-breaking season of over 40 artists’ films featuring rarely-seen works, newly restored material and classic titles that have blazed a trail through the visual arts, fashion, music and design. Selected by six emerging young curators (George Clark, Ian White, Michelle Cotton, James Harding, Tanya Leighton and The Otolith Group [Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sajar]), the season was split into six programmes each with a distinct thematic approach: Dreams, Modernity, Expression, Protest, Play and Pop.

The season aimed to articulate the ways in which artists’ film, often seen as obscure, impenetrable or intellectually elitist, has historically made an impact on culture at large – regularly responsible for initiating ideas and aesthetic practices subsequently taken up by more mainstream and popular culture. Despite this contemporary importance and acceptance of film-based artistic practice, and its pervasive presence and re-appropriation across mainstream visual culture, the role of the visual artist within cinematic history has often gone undervalued and unseen. ICO Essentials set out to redress the balance.

“Not since the heyday of Channel 4’s now legendary ‘Midnight Underground’ series has there been a better chance to immerse yourself in the visionary world of inspired imagemaking”
– Gareth Evans, Time Out

“..The Independent Cinema Office is just about to offer British audiences a major chance to broden their perspectives.”
– Kevin Jackson, The Guardian

“A timely compilation of over 40 of the greatest artist’s films of the 20th Century”
– Hannah Lack, Dazed & Confused

“Film based art is firmly back on the agenda”
– Jamie Millar, GQ


About George Clark

George Clark is an artist, curator and writer. His films have shown at festivals and museums internationally. He has curated projects for museums, galleries, cinemas, and festivals with a focus on broadening the histories of film and video practice globally. Through his work at Tate Modern (2013-2015) and in independent projects, he has curated retrospectives of Ute Aurand, Julian Dashper, Lav Diaz, Camille Henrot, Vlado Kristl, Luis Ospina and Chick Strand, as well as thematic exhibitions on Japanese expanded cinema (with Julian Ross & Go Hirasawa), the L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, and Infermental, the first magazine on videocassette (with Dan Kidner & James Richards). He has written for numerous exhibition catalogues and publications. He is a lecturer at University of Westminster and has extensive experience in teaching at graduate and post-graduate levels including as a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, UC San Diego and Nordland School of Art and Film (NKFS) among others.


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