Breaking Ground: Broken Circle / Spiral Hill (1971-2011)
by Nancy Holt, Theo Tegelaers, NL 2011, 20'
PHOTOGRAPHY: Nancy Holt (1971), Benito Strangio (2011)   VOICE OVER: Robert Smithson  (Arts Institute of Chicago, 19 ottobre 1971); Huib Haye van der Werf, estratti da un intervista a  Robert Smithson di Gregoire Müller. The Earth, Subject Cataclysms, is a Cruel Master, in “Arts magazine”, settembre 1971, poi in  Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings,  1996
SOUND: Rik Meier, field recording;   PRODUCER: Carlijn Diesfeldt / Land Art Contemporary
EDITING: Nancy Holt, Theo Tegelaers (SKOR / Foundation for Art and Public Domain), Walter Stokman Films   LANGUAGE: English; SUBTITLES: Italian

Schermo dell'Arte - Archivio Film Presented at Lo schermo dell'arte FIlm Festival 2013

Robert Smithson often made films and videos to accompany his Land Art pieces, several of them in collaboration with his wife, artist Nancy Holt. In 1971, she filmed the creation of Smithson’s two earthworks at Emmen, in Holland, for the historic exhibit Sonsbeek 71. This double piece, made on the site of an old sand-mine, is the only permanent work in Europe by the author of the majestic Spiral Jetty (1970).
The piece is linked to the idea of this film, which Smithson, who died in a 1973 plane crash, was unable to complete. Following traces of the artist’s plans, Holt finished it in 2011, in collaboration with Theo Tegelaers, combining original material from the period with aerial views of the site shot in the present (using a way of shooting that Smithson considered fundamental for showing his works), with inserts of archival footage of the devastating flood that hit Holland in 1953. These images (like the presence of the boulder in Broken Circle), take us back to the artist’s reflections on Nature, which we hear in his own voice. The video is a precious document on the Emmen works and their legendary author’s poetics.

Nancy Holt
Holt began her artistic career as a photographer and video artist. Best known for her large-scale environmental works, Sun Tunnels and Dark Star Park, she has created site- and time-specific environmental works for public spaces world-wide. Holt has received five National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, New York Creative Artist Fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Since the late 1960s, she has made a number of films and videos. She lives and works in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Selected filmography
1968 Mono Lake (with Michael Heizer); 1969 East Coast, West Coast; 1971 Swamp (in collaboration with  Robert Smithson)  1971-2011 Breaking ground: Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (in collaboration with  Theo Tegelaers); 1974 Points of View: Clocktower 1978 Sun Tunnels.

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