Close Up

27 August 2016: Looking in and out: The Films of Nick Collins

Shot in numerous locations spanning Cornwall, Orkney, London and Sussex, in the UK, to the Cévennes region in France and various sites in Greece, Nick Collins' films – usually made on 16mm film – explore landscapes, human presence and absence and the passage of time. The evidence that we’re shown of the civic and sacred functions of these different sites, across time, is matched by the filmmaker’s lyrical observations of fleeting moments and the associative links he makes between striking images. An underlying metaphor in the films concerns the openings, entrances, and foundations that are animated by light. Collins is a master of cinematography working with minimal means.

"Nick Collins has quietly built a body of work by slow and patient steps that tested the scope and focus of his art. In some respects this echoes the character of the films themselves, which are on the cusp between personal lyric, with its implication of subjectivity, and direct observation, with its camera-eye objectivism. They enact a kind of absorption in seeing, but always in relation to particular sites and events, such as water, sky, gardens, natural landscape and the traces of human habitation. They rarely show people, but they are not impersonal. The persons implicated in the films, however, are those not depicted in it. The filmmaker is one such, apart from rare traces of his occasionally glimpsed shadow. The viewer is another, more radically absent since not present at the original filming. Together, the maker and viewer complete the projected space of the image when ultimately the film is shown, and becomes "present to us"." – A.L. Rees

The films in this programme will be selected by the filmmaker who will also be in conversation with artist and filmmaker Karel Doing.

Across the Valley
Nick Collins
2006 | 20 min | Colour | 16mm

Across the Valley was shot, and the sound gathered, between July 2004 and January 2006, in the Cevennes, in the south of France. The film is from a single vantage point, a small area of flatness on the side of a steep vaclley. I filmed the view of the landscape from this point, through three of the four seasons, as well as elements of the scene closer to the camera. The resulting film draws on, and develops, my existing interests in the time-based representation of simultaneity, and in the temporal and sequencing possibilities inherent to film editing.

Winter Woods
Nick Collins
2003 | 4 min | B/W | 16mm

Winter Woods, made in the Cévennes in the south of France in December 2003, presents an epiphany of light in a mountain valley.

Field Study
Nick Collins
2013 | 5 min | Colour | 16mm

Field Study explores movement of, and within, the-frame, in the context of the landscape of the Cévennes, in early spring.

Fugitive Roll
Nick Collins
2013 | 1’30 min | B/W | 16mm

Fugitive Roll was made from a single roll of Kodak Double-X, which started out in England, and which was then left in a house in Greece. When I went back the next year, it was still there, so I took it to France, where it was finally exposed. So it seemed to me momentarily as if the film was trying to escape, hence the title. The film was eventually shot in an hour, on a beautiful afternoon in the mountains with sun, wind, trees of one size and another, and a table with holes in it.

Nick Collins
2008 | 10 min | Colour | 16mm

Reflections, shadows and an exploration of film movement and time, shot on/in a 100-yard stretch of the Mimente river in southern France.

Four Little Films: Frost Table, Tholos, Jasmine Tea, and Garden
Nick Collins
2009 | 10 min | Colour & B/W | 16mm

Frost Table was filmed at dawn on the 1st of January 2008. It was so cold that the camera would barely turn, until the sun came up. The film is a very modest record of a moment in a place, with camera-movement making reference to the passage of days. Tholos is a film of a Mycenaean tomb at Nichoria in Messenia, Greece. Jasmine Tea unknowingly reprised a project given to students at at least one university, when they are short of ideas: make a film of a cup of tea! Garden examines an area of my garden, which can be sombre or joyful. Starting with minutiae, the film works its way outwards.

Temple of Apollo
Nick Collins
2012 | 5’30 min | Colour | 16mm

Temple of Apollo looks at the very vestigial remains of a temple to Apollo Korynthos at Agios Andreas in Messenia, Greece. The film draws on Fritz Graf’s 2008 book on Apollo. Elements from the myths surrounding the god are found, or noticed, or suggested.

Square and Mountain
Nick Collins
2010 | 4 min | Colour | 16mm

Square and Mountain was filmed in 2010 in a village in the Mani, Greece. Shot from a single vantage point, the scene is explored shot-by-shot, almost as-if gridded. Time stands still, advances, and is also condensed.

Three Little Pieces: Caravans & Verticals, Line of Light, and Marathos
Nick Collins
2014-2015 | 10 min | Colour | 16mm

These three short silent 16mm films explore framing and composition, colour, and negative and positive space, while presenting an account of the places where they were filmed.