Frieze Film: Charles Atlas, Xavier Cha, Gery Georgieva & Thirteen Black Cats

Each year Frieze London features a curated non-profit programme of works and events, and the artist film strand of this showcases new works which have been commissioned from both established and emerging artists. This year, the programme has been curated by the experienced TV developer and producer Nicola Lees and is presented in partnership with Channel 4’s Random Acts, who will broadcast the commissions.

The four selected filmmakers are Charles Atlas (with Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener), Xavier Cha, Gery Georgieva and Thirteen Black Cats. Nicola Lees said: “I am very pleased to continue a long-standing relationship with Random Acts, supporting Frieze Film’s aim to provide an opportunity for both established and emerging artists to engage with the challenging medium of broadcast. Together we are presenting four tremendous works that demonstrate a breadth of approaches to contemporary film-making.”

Xavier Cha’s piece explores the body and subjectivity, capturing actors’ efforts to express conflicting emotions, and the tense states of physical and psychological discord which result. It also offers an insight into the artist’s forthcoming solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

Bulgaria-born Georgieva’s film focuses on the nightclubs of her native country’s chalga (pop-folk) scene, a musical genre which has a contested relationship to national tradition. By contrasting footage from these venues in Bulgaria with similar settings elsewhere, Georgieva interrogates cultural identities.

Atlas works at the intersection between music, performance and film, and here debuts a new dance-based work which was choreographed by the duo Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener and filmed at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), New York. It follows Atlas’s influential previous Channel 4 commission Hail the New Puritan (1985-6) in being specially tailored for broadcast.

Continuing the theme of collaboration, the research and production collective Thirteen Black Cats presents the first chapter of an ambitious, 56-part  work. Inspired by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño’s novel Antwerp (2002), the project invites filmmakers and artists worldwide to collaborate on a multi-authored film and video series.

Random Acts editor Pegah Farahmand says: “At Channel 4 our goal has always been to showcase the world’s boldest and most thought-provoking artist films, so we couldn’t have picked a more perfect partner than Frieze Film. They have consistently produced an incredibly diverse and striking collection of works, and we are proud to be a part of their movement as they push the boundaries of the form.”

Frieze Film, until 17 October, Frieze London, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4NR.

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1. Still from abduct by Xavier Cha, Frieze Films.