The ninety interviews produced by Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield between 1974 and 1988 exhibit a level of intimacy and authenticity that is startling when contrasted to today’s media savvy world. These interviews, recorded on early video equipment, evidence an era when those under the spotlight were less conscious of projecting a perfect and mediated “image”, and more interested in sharing ideas, experiences and histories. Within these early tapes, Blumenthal and Horsfield’s interviewees thoughtfully answer questions about their lives and work in ways that are both surprising and enlightening, while detailing the artistic choices they make on a day-to-day basis.
These compelling interviews, often shot in black and white, reveal the development of each artist’s trajectory, from first deciding to become an artist, to developing a practice and establishing a career. Many of the interviews are taped with artists at a fairly early stage in their artistic development; some artists are re-interviewed after a period of several years, accentuating developments in ideas and methodologies. The productions are small in size, often recorded with only the artist, camera operator and interviewer present, allowing for the development of a remarkably intimate atmosphere, and revealing profound insights into the lives and work of the subjects.
Averaging an hour in length, the interviews are edited from the original footage in order to distil the content to the most important and relevant dialogue. The camera focuses close-up on the artist, with the interviewer out-of-frame, though their voices can be heard asking questions and seeking clarifications, and occasional cigarette smoke floats across the screen. This stripped down format ensures that the viewers’ attention is focused on the interviewee, and the dense and often complex descriptions of the creative process that each artist reveals.
The series ended with Lyn Blumenthal’s untimely death in 1988.