Monday, October 06, 2008

Candle power

A classic Art at the Movies moment on the way to Tokyo. Five hours into the flight and we were reduced to movies that probably went straight to DVD. Like Deception, another of those laconic, slow-paced thrillers that step you through some process that is being subverted by the bad guy. In this case it was accountancy (honestly). Movie makers are skilful at using art to make rapid statements of context. To paint a character as sophisticated, wealthy and a shrewd collector all in an instant, the director reached for Gerhard Richter. “It’s a Gerhard Richter. You know the guy we met in the hall … he’s a hot-shot collector. He hooked me up with this fantastic dealer in Munich.” How much of the American audience did the director think would recognise Richter, or know what he represented in terms of status and market value? Virtually none, but the point Richter is being used to make is more about the mysteries of arcane, exclusive and valuable knowledge than recognition.

Before being reduced to Deception we watched Vincent Ward’s latest film. It didn’t have to use art works as ciphers, it’s an artwork all by itself.
Image: Deception Air New Zealand style