Price’s investigational and wildly innovative work has been screened at several museums across the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Cinematheque, and most recently the Whitney Museum.
Known since the 1980s for his Super-8 films and performances, Luther Price has, in recent years, turned to 16mm film, creating new works from discarded prints of old documentaries, snippets of Hollywood features, and other examples of cinematic detritus. He re-edits the footage by hand, effaces the image through scraping, buries the films to rot and gather mold, and adds chaotic visual patterns using colored inks and permanent markers. For soundtracks, he frequently uses only the brutal electromechanical noise generated by sprocket holes running through the projector’s audio system. Each reel he produces is thereby a unique object, often altered to such an extent that it struggles through the projector, as if playing out the end of film itself; his is a cinema that ecstatically embraces its death drive, so as to achieve maximum potency.
During Price’s screening at Counterpath, he will be showing the “Meat Slides” along with several 16mm films such as “Fancy” (2006), “The Biscuit Day” (2007), “Singing Biscuits” (2008), “Shelly Winters” (2010), among others.
In Price’s own words: “Under the depression of film and flesh, I peel back the skin of it all and try to find its material truth, the tooth and meat of film in its own life span of mere physicality. Film is living object, and with it’s resolve, finds its own way into our past history and future content, our very own understanding of who and what we are, by way of how we feel and see the world around us and desperately try to understand. We find a way to paint our likeness for future gift, like those who left their world on past walls before us. Are we not so different from them? Were we all trying to accomplish the same thing? Our path is here, it’s now and so we wander toward and hope to come out the other side. I see film as an archival gift, a library of thought and vision, a textural manifest of who we are and where we come from, a truth to unfolded with layers and layers to be found untold, where lies and truth will have to be confirmed at a later time. We are human. This is our legacy. We are still and always will, as long as we are here, scratch our story on a cave wall or film and, perhaps, the sky.” –Luther Price, 2012
In this video, 2012 Whitney Biennial artist Luther Price discusses his handmade films and slides.