Fish Plane, Heart Clock (2014)
HD video, color, sound, 60 minutes
12 February 2016, 7-9pm
(film begins at 7:30pm, followed by a conversation between Kunstverein München Film Curator Vincent Stroep, filmmaker Arvo Leo and Director Chris Fitzpatrick)
13 February until 4 March 2016
Screening at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm
It’s a story of how a harpoon transformed into a pencil, and with it, everything else. Arvo Leo centered his 2014 film Fish Plane, Heart Clock on Inuit artist Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992) — positioning Pudlat’s pencil as a fulcrum around which a much wider context accrues.
Originally living as a hunter on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, an injury led Pudlat to relocate to Kinngait, a colonial settlement. In 1956, Canada’s Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources set up Kinngait Studios, to provide Inuits with space, materials, and instruction for drawing and printmaking. The West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative followed in 1959, to promote sales and exhibitions of Inuit art in southern Canada and internationally. Pudlat’s imagery reflects his rapidly changing environment, combining animals or igloos with airplanes or helicopters, and often morphing one into the other.
Working prolifically in the Studio, Pudlat’s prints and sculptures were distributed widely by the Co-Operative. Yet in Fish Plane, Heart Clock, Leo focuses on Pudlat’s largely unknown collection of over 4,000 drawings and paintings — the more private side of an artistic output spanning four decades. Music performed by Cape Dorset residents adds another layer, and is as present as the image.
Fish Plane, Heart Clock is more demonstrative and lyrical than documentary or neutral, as Leo interpretatively parrots Pudlat’s artistic logic and visionary form of graphic oration. Leo sees his film as an attempt not to speak ’about’ Pudlat, but to speak ’nearby’ Pudlat. In other words, the proximity Leo provides is a seat at the center of an orbit, from which both an unseen collection of art and a constellation of cultural, economic, and political relations come into focus.
A film by Arvo Leo / Filmed during the spring of 2014 / Made with the financial support of: Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève and British Columbia Arts Council / Images of works by Pudlo Pudlat used in the film generously provided by: Dorset Fine Arts, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, National Gallery of Canada, West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative / All images © Dorset Fine Arts / Throat singing performed by Louisa Parr Pootoogook & Wakta Pootoogook / Accordion and singing performed by Udjualuk Etidloie / Accordion and guitar performed by Udjualuk Etidloie & Etulu Etidloie / Additional music by Alison Yip, Julian Hou / Assistance with sound design and mixing: Julian Hou / Filming in the grocery store by Latch Akesuk / Painting the Fish: Piita Jaw & Melanie Pootoogoo / Snow Arms scene made with: Parr Etidloie, Harry Josephee, Lymekie Toonoo Jr, Latch Akesuk, Joseph Daniel Pinguartuk, Grace Main / Photo of Pudlo with the accordion by William Ritchie / Photos of Pudlo at the painting studio by Tessa Macintosh / Additional photos courtesy of Kinngait Studios / Translation by Letia Etidloie and Helena Ashevak / Thank you: Mike Perry, Jimmy Manning, William Ritchie, Kanayuk Bell, Enoo Bell, Udjualuk Etidloie, Etulu Etidloie, Louisa Parr Pootoogook, Wakta Pootoogook, Ashevak Adla, Niviaqsi Quvianaqtuliaq, Victoria Dickenson, Janine Butler, Kristin Rothschild, Cyndie Campbell, David Hannan, Pat Feheley, Susan Gustavison, Norman Vorano, Patrick Thompson, Alexa Hatanaka, Grace Main, Julia Burns, Kinngait Studios, Peter Pitseolak High School, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, National Gallery of Canada, Dorset Fine Arts, Feheley Fine Arts, Nunavut Film Board, Western Front, Ben Wilson, Sarah Todd, Caitlin Jones, Letia Etidloie, Helena Ashevak, Patrick Palluq, Alison Yip, Julian Hou, Gareth Moore, Amy Kazymerchyk, Aaron Skoblenick, Yann Chateigné, First Air, the staff at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, BC Arts Council