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Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling

by Jennifer Lane
USA, 2022, 94’
Presented at the 16th edition of Lo schermo dell’arte, 2023
Screenplay: Jennifer Lane
Photography: David Hollander, Joseph Cashiola, Joan Churchill
Editing: Jennifer Lane
Sound: Alan Barker, Loic De Lame, David Hollander, Joseph Cashiola
Producers: David Hollander, Jennifer Lane, Joseph Cashiola, Arne Glimcher
The film traces Californian artist Robert Irwin’s long career. He was born in Long Beach in 1928, and is best known for site-specific installations and ephemeral interventions that play with the perception of space and light. Irwin joined Los Angeles’ Cool School scene in the late 1960s as a painter, but soon abandoned object-making for philosophy. His experimental installations of an ephemeral nature earned him a reputation as a visionary among other artist friends such as Ed Ruscha, Chris Burden and Vija Celmins. Archival materials and unpublished interviews show Irwin installations created for the Villa Panza collection in Varese, and the Central Garden of the Getty Center in Los Angeles, a natural work that changes with the passing of time and the seasons. At 87, Irwin’s career culminated in a massive permanent installation for the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. The film follows the complex creation of this radical ode to the evanescent elements of light and space.
Jennifer Lane is an artist and filmmaker who lives in Texas. Her films and artworks have been exhibited at the UCLA Hammer Museum, the Austin Film Society, the Miami International Film Festival, Antimatter. She is the Co-Founder of the film festival CineMarfa.
Selected Filmography
2018 Unusual Sounds; 2017 Agave is Life; 2016 The Beautiful Has Departed, and Returneth Not; 2015 Passage; 2015 Virago.