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26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Fascinations: Radek Pilař

A second look at Radek Pilař
Some works need a significant time distance to be watched, understood and accepted in a proper way. How are we able to watch Radek Pilař’s experimental, abstract, and collage films from the late 1960s today? And what about his subsequent video art works that have undergone a wave of popularity, forgetting, rejection and rediscovery? This retrospective selection of Pilař’s works from the 1960s to the 1990s is based on a critical look at his complete archive of 374 videotapes in various formats. It documents the ongoing efforts to remediate his own work under the influence of new technologies, as well as the ways in which the artist dealt with the changes in the cultural environment of the 1980s.

Introductory lecture with film samples – Martin Blažíček and Anna Kryvenko (40 min.)
Projection, short film series (50 min.)
Prepared by Národní filmový archiv Praha

film database

Barvy 1965
Pilař returned to his original abstract film experiments in the mid-1980s when he could afford to buy his own Betamax video camera. During this period, a series of screeners were created that served as the basis for his later video experiments. Among other things, the painted animations were used to create the music video Pink Floyd (1984) and its later version reworked using the mosaic effect, Colours 1965 (1991).
personal program

Barvy 1965

Radek Pilař
1991 / 2 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
A Time of Rejoicing
Since the mid-1980s, the video section was part of the state enterprise Supraphon, with the mission to create video programs on classical music. In 1985–1991, Pilař produced the Musica Picta series in the local JVC transmission car. The individual episodes were based on keying techniques, animation and usually Boris Hybner's clowning. From today's point of view, it is a rather original and aesthetically eccentric attempt to apply video art techniques in the context of a television programme.  
personal program

A Time of Rejoicing

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1985 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Abstract animations from the 1960s - Part I
Pilař made the two surviving reels of animation experiments after his return from the 1963 Paris Biennale. The gestural brush painting over the surface of the originally black and white puppet film which he almost completely removed from the stock falls at the beginning of his programme works of expressive collage and assemblage. He returned to it repeatedly, as he did to the material he later reworked for Pink Floyd (ca. 1984) and Colours 1965 (ca. 1991).
personal program

Abstract animations from the 1960s - Part I

Radek Pilař
1963 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Abstract animations from the 1960s - Part II
Pilař made the two surviving reels of animation experiments after his return from the 1963 Paris Biennale. The gestural brush painting over the surface of the originally black and white puppet film which he almost completely removed from the stock falls at the beginning of his programme works of expressive collage and assemblage. He returned to it repeatedly, as he did to the material he later reworked for Pink Floyd (ca. 1984) and Colours 1965 (ca. 1991).
personal program

Abstract animations from the 1960s - Part II

Radek Pilař
1963 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Earth, Light, Air
An artistic study of natural materials and a child’s face, which Pilař transforms into abstract objects by transferring them into a negative and changing the colour scheme. Despite the date given in the film (1982), it is probably one of his experiments on the Betamax format, realised around 1984 in his summer studio at his cottage in Jarkovice.
personal program

Earth, Light, Air

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1984 / 1 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Flare Up
A follow-up video to Pilař’s programme works of destructive animation which started in the 1960s. In Flare Up, plastic cones and toys are subject to destruction, but it is again a revision of his previous work with a new video technology. Pilař electronically embedded his original film There is a Doll Living in the Apple Tree (1984) into his assemblages and supplemented it with computer animation by Martin Hřebačka.
personal program

Flare Up

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1991 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Painting
Leaving aside the Musica Picta series (1987), Pilař rarely worked with recordings of physical performances in his videos. In his art study Painting, he composes an artistic space from three motifs: dance choreographies, collages and paintings, and chroma keyed images of fire, with Martin Hřebačka's abstract animations shining through occasionally.
personal program

Painting

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1991 / 9 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Painting into the Air
In the mid-1960s, Pilař recorded a short sketch with the family of the writer and lyricist Václav Fischer in the Baroque complex Skalka near the town of Mníšek pod Brdy. He added an overpainting to the film, respecting the actions of the protagonists so that the characters would react to the coloured flying objects. Pilař made the untitled material into a video screener called A Film Sketch 1965 (ca. 1984), and later edited it with video effects under the title Painting into the Air (ca. 1991).
personal program

Painting into the Air

Radek Pilař
1963 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Pinup Version I
The black and white collage film was originally made by Pilař at a time when he was getting acquainted with the expressive language of the Nordic band Cobra. At the same time, it falls into the period of his parting with academic modernism in favour of the new language of pop-art. He revisited his film collages and decollages supplemented with animated fluids accompanied by music by The Residents in 1984 as a screener projected onto various surfaces.
personal program

Pinup Version I

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1961 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Pinup Version II
The black and white collage film was originally made by Pilař at a time when he was getting acquainted with the expressive language of the Nordic band Cobra. At the same time, it falls into the period of his parting with academic modernism in favour of the new language of pop-art. He revisited his film collages and decollages supplemented with animated fluids accompanied by music by The Residents in 1984 as a screener projected onto various surfaces.
personal program

Pinup Version II

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1984 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Virtual Curtain
One of the most technically sophisticated videos by Pilař, made in the then founded Visual Connection studio. The unifying motif of the work is fluidity: the presence of water surface or reflections of drops that slowly wash away the colours. Called "total painting" by Pilař, the technique, as he saw it, represented the final fusion of the painterly language with animation, collage, and electronic images.
personal program

Virtual Curtain

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1992 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
Ministerstvo kultury
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