Open Frequency 2009: Richard Bevan selected by Chris Brown

Open Frequency 2009: Richard Bevan selected by Chris Brown Richard Bevan, Usher, 2008. 35mm Slide/ C-type

Artist, musician and co-director of g39, Chris Brown, profiles the film work of Richard Bevan

Moving images on film require a light source at two definite moments: firstly in the capturing of the image onto the film, and secondly in their release onto the screen. Both these moments hold equal significance to Bevan, and he utilises each as a tool to extend or define the work.

In ‘Usher’ (2008), four looped 16mm films are projected side by side. Each screen displays the same image of a figure shrouded in darkness, standing facing the viewer in what appears to be a cinema auditorium. On one of the screens a fleeting burst of light momentarily wipes out the image; its fading circular twinkle is unmistakably that of a torch shining directly into the camera. Another screen gives way to the briefest blinding flash in the same manner, and another, each returning to the semi-darkness occupied by this lone cinema usher who is once again visible in the returning gloom, holding a torch at waist height. With every flash of torchlight a piano note plays, triggered by a light sensor placed in the centre of each projection. The four screens play their own individual note in synchrony with every flash, spelling out the key of F minor. Each looped film is of a different length, allowing the sequence of flashes – and therefore the spelling of the chord – to be non-repetitive.

Bevan allows us to witness the tension between film and light virtually disintegrate altogether in the carefully controlled experiment ‘Light Leaks attempt 3’ (2007). Using a modified camera whose lightfastness has been compromised, he films in a semi-dark environment and allows the image to be made by light entering the camera from multiple sources. The dark image of a silhouetted window floods with unpredictable flickerings of bright orange, then cyan, before a white-out and becoming dark again. Following a similar line of inquiry, in ‘there must be happy endings’ (2008) Bevan uses coloured gels to condition the sunlight entering a circular room through a ring of skylights. In this site-specific film study, candy-coloured trapezoids of ‘projected’ sunlight fall on the floor, analogous to the same process that enables us to see the film documentation of this coloured ‘moving image’. In the final seconds of the loop the scene is flooded with a familiar blood-orange cast before fading to white – a result of loading and unloading the camera.

Bevan’s work sidesteps the nostalgic trappings of film and offers the viewer the chance to experience a lyrical and contemporary aspect of the medium’s processes.

Chris Brown, October 2008

Artist's biography

Richard Bevan (b.1980, Maesteg, Wales) graduated in 2002 with a BA in Fine Art (Printmaking) from University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and in 2008 gained a MA in Fine Art (Media) from the Slade School of Fine Art. He is Co-founder of thedaybeforethedayafter and will be exhibiting in Setting the Scene, Gallery Bafa Foto (Geneva) from 14 May and both Giatrakou 28, The Neutrality of this Section is Disputed (Athens) and at Furnished (London) in June. 

About Chris Brown

Chris Brown is an artist, musician and co-founder of the artist-run organisation g39. He is responsible for g39's strategic development within Wales, the UK and beyond. He is also Magazine Coordinator for a-n The artists information company, and acts in an advisory capacity for a-n's NAN and AIR initiatives. Chris is currently studying postgraduate Composition and Jazz at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (Cardiff) and is a member of Go Faster Stripe, an independent collective that promotes high-profile UK comedians through its programme of live acts and DVD production.

Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.