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Empty the Pond to Get the Fish

by Runa Islam
United Kingdom 2008, 12 ‘
Presented at Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival 2015 – Italian Premiere in the presence of the artist
EDITING: Runa Islam
PHOTOGRAPHY: Thomas Kirschner
SOUND DESIGN: Mick Ritchie
PRODUCTION: Brains & Pictures, Vienna
PRODUCER: Claudia Dohr
A short film reveals the rigorous and poetic language of Runa Islam, one of the best-known artists in the world of moving images. She uses the medium of cinema, its technique and essential grammar, to call attention to visual representation. Her works draw from the imagery of great cinema classics, concentrating on minimal fragments, moving on the hesitations and introspections of slow motion. In Empty the Pond To Get the Fish (2008), the camera’s eye lingers on abstract frames. Initially, the close-ups produce an apparently meaningless image, then the camera slowly widens the shot, through shifts in the vertical and horizontal, to reveal first an empty auditorium, then a museum where workers are installing a painting. The sense of expectation and the revelation of the work is an integrating part of this film’s final logic. The artist utilizes the mechanical subjectivity of the TV camera’s eye to evoke the human gaze, subverting the cinematic tradition based on narrative story.
Runa Islam
Born in Bangladesh in 1970, she lives and works in London. She produces minimalist installations which combine cinematographic technique and the history of cinema. Among her most recent one-person exhibitions: Anatomical Study, KIOSK, Ghent (2014); Dogs Devouring Horses/The Move, Arter, Istanbul (2012); Projects 95: Runa Islam, MOMA, New York (2011); Lost Cinema Lost, Galleria Civica, Modena (2008). She has also participated in group shows, including: The Cinema Effect, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (2008); the Biennale di Venezia (2005); the International Biennial in Instanbul (2003).
Selected Filmography
2013 Anatomical Study I 2012 Meroe 2011 Emergence 2010 Cabinet of Prototypes; Magical Consciousness 2009 This Munch Uncertain