In June 1891 Paul Gauguin landed in Tahiti with a romantic image of an untouched paradise. After six years settled on the island, and crippled by self-doubt and unable to paint for six months, Gauguin vowed to paint his final masterpiece, his last work, inscribed with the questions: ‘D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous’ I ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
In September 2022 MPHQ Project Space Cologne I London presented the exhibition Paradise Lost in Cologne. With the title taken from John Milton’s 1667 epic poem, Paradise Lost gave artists the scope to approach and explore the questions Gauguin had posed in the 19th century: How artists reflect on the changing world around them and maintain dialogue in a time of crisis.
Paradise Lost II in London presents 5 artists from Cologne and 5 artists from London to further ensure the exchange between artists and gallery spaces in the UK and the EU and to explore the questions we pose and the answers we seek as the flood of images force the artist to question their role as image and social commentary provider, that emphasises the ongoing importance of artistic endeavour and cultural exchange in a rapidly changing world.
MPHQ Pictures is an independent film production company currently in production on the film BACON’S HISTORIES shooting in Greece, London, Paris, Spain and Germany.
The final film in Martha Parsey’s Francis Bacon trilogy explores the influence of the Histories, namely the Greek dramas, Egyptian sculpture, and poetry and literature on Francis Bacon’s painting; both in his style and choice of subject matter. The film is underscored by previously unpublished interviews with Francis Bacon discussing at length the influence of the Greeks and Egyptians, as well as the influence of the poets T.S Eliot and the work of Shakespeare.
The style of this film is derived from Greek tragedy, note the closing words of Oedipus… ‘Then learn that mortal man must always look to his ending’. The origins of the art of drama, its roots in the instinct for ritualistic expression, impersonation, and interpretation of the power of natural forces, the nexus of past, present and future, the expression of the sensation and reasonings excited by the battles with the external forces that appear to govern man’s life: in Sophocles’ words ‘the battle of man with more than man’.
Der dritte Teil einer Francis-Bacon-Filmtrilogie.
Der letzte Film in Martha Parseys Francis Bacon-Trilogie untersucht den Einfluss der Historien, d.h. der griechischen Dramen, der ägyptischen Skulptur sowie der Poesie und Literatur auf Francis Bacons Malerei, sowohl in seinem Stil als auch in der Wahl seiner Themen. Der Film wird durch bisher unveröffentlichte Interviews mit Francis Bacon untermauert, in denen er ausführlich über den Einfluss der Griechen und Ägypter sowie über den Einfluss der Dichter T.S. Eliot und Shakespeare spricht.
Der Stil dieses Films ist von der griechischen Tragödie abgeleitet, man beachte die abschließenden Worte von Ödipus: “Dann lerne, dass der sterbliche Mensch immer auf sein Ende schauen muss”. Die Ursprünge der Kunst des Dramas, ihre Wurzeln im Instinkt für rituellen Ausdruck, Verkörperung und Interpretation der Macht der natürlichen Kräfte, die Verknüpfung von Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft, der Ausdruck der Empfindungen und Überlegungen, die durch die Kämpfe mit den äußeren Kräften, die das Leben des Menschen zu bestimmen scheinen, angeregt werden: in Sophokles’ Worten “der Kampf des Menschen mit mehr als dem Menschen”.
Michael Conrads is an artist who divides his time between Germany and Mexico. Known for his geometric abstract painting he has recently been exploring new directions in his painting, sculpture and ceramics during a residency in Mexico. Michael is represented by Produzentengalerie Hamburg.
MPHQ Project Space presents the first gallery screening as a motion picture artwork of Ken McMullen’s ‘Hamlet Within’ starring Ian McKellen, John Shrapnel, Ben Turner, Lex Shrapnel, Gabriella Wright, Jacques Derrida, Dominique Pinon and Martha Parsey. Written and Directed by Ken McMullen. Produced by Art Cinema, Scape Productions and Twenty One Productions. The film is in English, German, French, Mandarin, Italian and Russian with English subtitles.
Hamlet Within is a radical cinematic investigation into the myth of Hamlet, its origins and its enduring appeal across cultures and systems of beliefs. Drawing on post-modernist movements in Art, History, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis the work asks the question ‘why Hamlet?’ and indeed ‘why now?’.
German / Deutsch: MPHQ Project Space präsentiert die erste Galerieaufführung als Filmkunstwerk Deutschlandpremiere von Ken McMullens “Hamlet Within” mit Ian McKellen, John Shrapnel, Ben Turner, Lex Shrapnel, Gabriella Wright, Jacques Derrida, Dominique Pinon und Martha Parsey. Buch und Regie: Ken McMullen. Produziert von Art Cinema, Scape Productions und Twenty One Productions. Der Film ist in Englisch, Deutsch, Französisch, Mandarin, Italienisch und Russisch mit englischen Untertiteln.
Hamlet Within ist eine radikale filmische Untersuchung des Hamlet-Mythos, seiner Ursprünge und seiner anhaltenden Anziehungskraft über Kulturen und Glaubenssysteme hinweg. Unter Rückgriff auf postmoderne Bewegungen in Kunst, Geschichte, Philosophie und Psychoanalyse stellt das Werk die Frage “Warum Hamlet?” und in der Tat “Warum jetzt?
In June 1891 Paul Gauguin landed in Tahiti with a romantic image of an untouched paradise. After six years settled on the island, and crippled by self-doubt and unable to paint for six months, Gauguin vowed to paint his final masterpiece, inscribed with the questions: D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
The press release for the exhibition with all available work can be downloaded here:
To mark the 30 years since Francis Bacon’s death on 28th April 1992, this exhibition BACON ON CAMERA presents two films by Martha Parsey, ‘Model and Artist; Henrietta Moraes and Francis Bacon’ and ‘Francis Bacon in Paris’.
Both films have previously been screened in major Bacon exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Haus der Kunst, Munich, the Hayward Gallery, London and at Ordovas Gallery, New York.
The exhibition runs from March 29th- May 21st 2022 and kicks off with an online exhibition with further screenings, seminars and artist’s talks to follow at MPHQ through the duration of the exhibition.
German / Deutsch:Anlässlich des 30. Jahrestages von Francis Bacons Tod im Jahr 1992 werden im April 2022 in der Ausstellung BACON ON CAMERA die Filme „Model and Artist; Henrietta Moraes and Francis Bacon“ und „Francis Bacon in Paris“ von Martha Parseyin Köln gezeigt. Die Filme sind bereits im Centre Pompidou Paris, Haus der Kunst München, Hayward Gallery London und Ordovas Gallery, New York gezeigt worden. Weitere Filmvorführungen, Seminare und Künstlergespräche sind im MPHQ Project Spaceüber die Dauer der Ausstellung geplant.
Model and Artist; Henrietta Moraes and Francis Bacon
Meeting Francis Bacon in London’s Soho of the 1960s, Henrietta Moraes (1931-1999) became a close friend of Bacon’s and his most frequently painted female subject. In interview at Bacon’s exhibition of small portraits at the Marlborough Gallery, London, Henrietta describes her relationship to Francis Bacon, intercut with Francis Bacon in interview with David Sylvester; a final dialogue between model and artist.
German / Deutsch: Francis Bacon gilt als einer der bedeutendsten Maler des 20. Jahrhunderts. „Model and Artist; Henrietta Moraes and Francis Bacon“ zeigt Bacon im Interview, ebenso wie sein Modell, sein meistgemaltes weibliches Motiv Henrietta Moraes, in einem Dialog zwischen Künstler und Modell.
Francis Bacon in Paris
David Sylvester, close friend and interviewer of Francis Bacon, hangs the Francis Bacon retrospective exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in 1996, four years after the artist’s death. Accompanying David Sylvester through the hanging of the show, Francis Bacon talks us through the works in his own words, from private conversations and previously unpublished interviews with David Sylvester from the 1970s, forming a final posthumous dialogue between artist and critic. An exhibition that was a testimony both to their lasting friendship and to Bacon’s supremacy as a painter, is staged in Paris, where Francis Bacon first decided to paint and David Sylvester first started writing. This film was made by Martha Parsey with the generous support and in collaboration with David Sylvester.
German / Deutsch:„Francis Bacon in Paris“, der mit dem Kurator und Kritiker David Sylvester gedreht wurde, begleitet Sylvester bei der Hängung der Ausstellung im Centre Pompidou, Paris. Bisher unveröffentlichte Interviews mit Bacon bilden ein letztes posthumes Gespräch zwischen Künstler und Kritiker. Eine Ausstellung, die sowohl von ihrer dauerhaften Freundschaft als auch von Bacons Überlegenheit als Maler zeugt, findet in Paris statt, wo Francis Bacon zum ersten Mal beschloss zu malen und David Sylvester zu schreiben begann.
About Martha Parsey
Martha Parsey studied Fine Art and Film at Central St Martins College of Art, the University of the Arts London, the University of the Arts Berlin and the German Film and Television Academy. Her films on Francis Bacon, screened at the ICA and Hayward Gallery, London, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Haus der Kunst, Munich and at Ordovas Gallery, New York, formed a lasting friendship and collaboration with the art critic and interviewer David Sylvester. Shortlisted for the Lexmark European Art Prize and the Sovereign European Art Prize, her paintings have been exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and the US, with her work in a number of prestigous collections including the Ovitz Family Collection, the Zabludowicz Collection and the Musée National d’art Moderne, Paris.
German / Deutsch:
Martha Parsey, geboren in London 1973, ist Malerin und Filmemacherin, die am Central St Martins College of Art, University of the Arts London, Universität der Künste Berlin und Deutsche Film und Fernsehakademie Berlin studierte. Ihre Filme sind im Institute of Contemporary Art London, Hayward Gallery London, Centre Pompidou Paris und im Haus der Kunst München, gezeigt worden. Ausgezeichnet mit dem Wolfgang Hartmann Preis und als Finalist der Lexmark Europäische Kunstpreis und Sovereign Europäische Kunstpreis ist ihre Malerei in zahlreichen Einzel-und Gruppenausstellungen in Europa und den USA gezeigt worden und in der Ovitz Sammlung, USA, die Sammlung Zabludowicz, London und dem Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris zu sehen.
All enquiries and for a press text please contact us by email
Joseph BEUYS / John BERGER / Stuart BRISLEY / Walter DAHN / Tadeusz KANTOR / Natalia LL / Gustav METZGER / Ken MCMULLEN / Martha PARSEY / Ewa PARTUM / Johannes STÜTTGEN / Boscher THEODOR
Joseph Beuys is considered one of the most important and influential German artists of the 20th Century. To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of his birth in 2021 this exhibition presents film installations and collaborations that emanate from Beuys’ teachings and oeuvre.
Deutsch: WAYS OF SEEING: Film Installations and Collaborations präsentiert Filme, Installationen und Kollaborationen die von der Lehre und dem Oeuvre von Beuys ausgehen. Joseph Beuys gehört zu den weltweit bedeutendsten Künstlern des 20. Jahrhunderts und sein 100. Geburtstag im Jahr 2021 bietet Anlass, den im Rheinland geborenen und arbeitenden Künstler, sein komplexes Wirken und seine internationale Ausstrahlung, neu zu entdecken und kritisch zu befragen. Die Ausstellung bietet eine Plattform die Bedeutung von Beuys für die gegenwärtige internationale Kunst zu ergründen und einen Diskurs über die brennenden Fragen unserer Zeit anzuregen: wie Demokratie und Freiheit zu verstehen sind.
PART 1: BEUYS / METZGER / MCMULLEN
Joseph Beuys in ‘Crowd Sculpture’
Between 1971 and 1972, Ken McMullen filmed three live performances as a collaboration with Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf. ‘Crowd Sculpture’, ‘Word Work’ and ‘Discussions with a Gun’. First screened at the Tate Gallery, London in 1972.
‘Die Ästhetik ist eine Begleiterscheinung jeder menschlichen Tätigkeit…’
‘Aesthetics are an inevitable accompaniment of every human activity.’
Gustav Metzger in ‘Manifesto 1959’
Gustav Metzger witnessed the rise of Nazism as a small child in Nuremberg and escaped to Great Britain aged thirteen. He trained as an artist before founding auto-destructive art in 1959. The scale of Gustav Metzger’s achievements and his contribution to contemporary culture are clearly demonstrated in Ken McMullen’s film ‘Pioneers in Art and Science’ (2005), as well as highlighting the importance of understanding the destructive impulses in human society.
‘Auto destructive art is primarily a form of public art for industrial societies.’
Gustav Metzger in ‘The Nazi Shadow’
Gustav Metzger on Nazi design and architecture, a subject that preoccupied him and had a lasting effect on his work, in a short extract from the film ‘Pioneers in Art and Science’, 2005.
‘I’m still very interested in Nazi German and Italian fascist design and architecture.
It’s an ongoing interest, it will never leave me and I think it shouldn’t.’
Gustav Metzger on ‘Riefenstahl’
Gustav Metzger on the films of Leni Riefenstahl, films he saw as a child growing up in Nuremberg and that had a lasting and profound effect on his work as an artist.
‘It simply is a masterpiece…the films made a very deep impression on me. They again deal with destruction. I lived in Nuremberg and saw tens of thousands of SA men marching to the Reichsparteitagsgelände’
PART 2: BRISLEY / KANTOR / PARTUM / NATALIA LL
Stuart Brisley in ‘Between’
The British artist Stuart Brisley’s attempts to antagonise the art world took shape in a fruitful meeting of minds with Beuys at the ICA in 1974 at the symposium ‘Art into Society into Art’.
In ‘Being and Doing’ (1984) Ken McMullen and Stuart Brisley collaborate to search out the origins of performance art, connecting it not to modernism but to ancient folk rituals in England and Europe. They testify to powerful behavioural traditions which have survived the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society.
‘Dissension will not take place. There will be no dissension. There will be no disasters. There are no arguments. We are being accounted for.’
Stuart Brisley in ‘Ghost Dance’
A short extract from the film ‘Ghost Dance’ (1983) with Pascale Ogier, Leonie Mellinger, Jacques Derrida, Dominique Pinon, Robbie Coltrane and Stuart Brisley.
Tadeusz Kantor in ‘Lovelies and Dowdies’
‘Lovelies and Dowdies’, shot in Edinburgh in collaboration with Tadeusz Kantor in 1973, is a filmed version of Tadeusz Kantor’s production of the eponymous play by Witkiewicz, ‘Dainty Shapes and Hairy Apes‘ with the CRICOT2 Theatre Company that offers a rare glimpse into Kantor’s groundbreaking work in theatre. This is the performance at which Kantor and Beuys met for the only time.
Ewa Partum in ‘Self identification’
Partum’s public work began in 1969 and continued through the seventies and her films act both as documentation of her performative work and as explorations of film as a medium in line with the feminist avant-garde and structural cinema of the 1960s.
‘In all the situations that I perform naked I want to demonstrate my complete alienation and the fact that I am rejecting the site of male-dominated orderliness.’
Natalia LL in ‘Meditation’
Natalia LL, associated with the feminist avant-garde scene of the 1960s in Poland, deconstructs single-frame photographs and satirizes images presented in advertising, television and print in the 1970s and 1980s. This is a short extract from Ken McMullen and Stuart Brisley’s film ‘Being and Doing’.
‘Young polish artists are very sensitive to the changes occurring in the Capitalist world, of which they are well informed. This situation provokes a dilemma between their connection to socialist ethics and everything that that means to them…’
PART 3: DAHN / STÜTTGEN / THEODOR
Imi Knoebel in ‘Reichsstrasse 51’
A break-in at the studio of Imi Knoebel in an extract from ‘Reichsstrasse 51’ (1991) from Walter Dahn, Johannes Stüttgen and Boscher Theodor. Imi Knoebel, Walter Dahn and Johannes Stüttgen were all students of Beuys at the academy in Düsseldorf.
Rudolf Steiner in ‘Die schwimmende Tasse’
Two cups battle it out to Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Die Rätsel der Philosophie’ in ‘Die schwimmende Tasse’ from Walter Dahn, Johannes Stüttgen and Boscher Theodor. First shown as part of the exhibition ‘Das 21. Jahrhundert’ at the Kunsthalle, Basel
‘So ist es mit allen Dingen; während wir auf das scheinbar Beharrende hinblicken, ist es im allgemeinen Strome des Daseins schon ein anderes geworden.’
‘While we look at what is apparently unchanging, it has already turned into something else in the general stream of existence’
PART 4: MCMULLEN / BERGER / PARSEY
John Berger in ‘Meditation on Time’
Shot in CERN, the nuclear physics facility in Geneva, Ken McMullen brought John Berger, author of ‘Ways of Seeing’, to encounter the new physics and technologies to be found there. John Berger arrived with the poem ‘Happiness’ by Jorge Luis Borges and the following encounters found form in ‘Art, Poetry and Particle Physics’.
‘Everything happens for the first time but in a way that is eternal. Whoever reads my words is inventing them.’
Jorge Luis Borges
Martha Parsey in ‘Lumin de Lumine’
Shot on location in Particle Accelerator Number One in CERN, this collaboration between Ken McMullen and Martha Parsey turned the Torness Nulcear Power Station into the largest public art installation in Europe. First shown as part of the exhibition ‘Signatures of the Invisible’ at MOMA P.S.1 New York.
Sein oder Nichtsein, das ist die Frage…
To be, or not to be, that is the question…’ Hamlet
Films appear by kind permission of the artists. Exhibition curated by Martha Parsey.
Meeting Francis Bacon in London in the sixties, Henrietta Moraes became the most painted of his female subjects. In interview in the Marlborough Gallery London, Henrietta recalls her impressions of the artist, which intercut with archive film footage of Bacon in interview, forms a final dialogue between model and artist. Screened at the Bacon Retrospective exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou Paris, Haus der Kunst Munich, and ‚Bacon’s Women’ at Ordovas Gallery New York.
Shot at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, during the Francis Bacon retrospective, the film accompanies curator, critic and close friend David Sylvester, as he hangs the exhibition. Previously unpublished interviews between Bacon and Sylvester commentate the erection of this exhibition and form a final dialogue between artist and critic; a monument to Bacon’s supremacy as a painter. Screened at the Coutauld Institute, London.
One cinematic shot depicts Manet’s ‚Execution of Maximilian’. In a single shot ‘1867’ passes through the 18 months of historical and artistic events that led to Manet’s four versions of the execution. Commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of New York, The John Paul Getty Foundation and Channel 4.
Cast: Dominic Pinon, John Shrapnel, Maria de Madeiros. This film explores the profound effect his father’s blindness had on Rembrandt and the way this influenced his work. Commissioned by BBC Television and Broadcast in 1992.
Shot in Jarman’s studio in Dungeness, UK and screened at the Berlin Film Festival, in this revealing documentary, Ken McMullen creates an elegant portrait of artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman, based on an interview conducted by John Cartwright. The questions are unobtrusive, allowing Jarman to reflect on his major films. Despite the debilitating effects of serious illness, we see an artist with his inner vision unimpaired; humourous, self effacing and disarmingly charming.
Gustav Metzger witnessed the rise of Nazism as a small child in Nuremberg and escaped to Great Britain aged thirteen. He trained as an artist before founding auto-destructive art in 1959. The scale of Gustav Metzger’s achievements and his contribution to contemporary culture are clearly demonstrated in Ken McMullen’s comprehensive film where Gustav Metzger speaks candidly and brilliantly of the influences which have shaped his own work, highlighting the importance of understanding the destructive impulses in human society.
‚Word Work’, ‚Discussions with a Gun’ and ‚Crowd Sculpture with Joseph Beuys’ are live performances shot with Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf between 1971 and 1972. First shown at the Tate Gallery, London in 1972 and at the Joseph Beuys Retrospective at Tate Modern.
A dialogue between Pascale Ogier and Jacques Derrida, in an excerpt from the film ‚Ghost Dance’, explores the connection between cinema and psychoanalysis.
Ken McMullen brought John Berger, author of Ways of Seeing, to CERN to encounter the new physics and technologies to be found there. Berger arrived with the poem Happiness by Jorge Luis Borges and the following encounters found form in the film Art, Poetry and Particle Physics, screened at Tshingh University Beijing, Complesso del Vittoriano Rome, Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva, Gulbenkian Gallery Lisbon, and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Centre NY.
KNOEBEL AND STEINER
A break-in at Imi Knoebel’s studio and two cups battle it out to Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Die Rätsel der Philosophie’ in collaborations between Walter Dahn, Johannes Stüttgen and Boscher Theodor.
ART, POETRY AND PARTICLE PHYSICS
Shot on location in Particle Accelerator Number One, CERN, Geneva, ‘Lumen de Lumine’ is a meditation on solitude. A motion picture playing with quantum theory and the nature of light and near-miss particle collisions, this film turned the Torness nuclear power station into the largest ever public art installation in Europe. A collaboration between Ken McMullen and Martha Parsey, screened during the exhibition ‚Signatures of the Invisible’ at Atlantis Gallery, London, Tshingh University Beijing, Complesso del Vittoriano Rome, Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva, Gulbenkian Gallery Lisbon, and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Centre NY.
This exhibition of films on art and art cinema brings together the work of leading artists and thinkers in Europe, from Manet to Bacon, from Beuys to Metzger, Derrida and Berger with short films and installations by Ken McMullen, Martha Parsey, Walter Dahn, Boscher Theodor and Johannes Stüttgen that explore the relationship between film, art theory, philosophy and painting.
The exhibition runs from October 3rd- November 21st by appointment following current government guidelines.
Please contact the Space by e mail email@example.com for more information. Press release with further information about the films: