Margaret Tait’s Beguiling Films Show a Dogged Commitment to the Act of Looking – Margaret Tait令人迷惑的电影表现出顽强的承诺。

The Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait made films that hum with humanity. Her gently persuasive work is both intensely personal and engagingly social, the apparent simplicity of her everyday imagery belying her dogged commitment to the act of looking. Tait, who died in 1999, was born in Kirkwall, Orkney 100 years ago on 11 November 1918, and between 1951 to 1998 created more than 30 films. The exhibition ‘Stalking the Image: Margaret Tait and her Legacy’ is part of a series of events across Scotland marking the centenary of her birth. Featuring nine of her films that vary in length from two to 32 minutes, also included at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art are vitrines filled with archive material such as typed letters, hand-drawn story boards and the filmmaker’s 16mm Bolex camera.


Margaret Tait’s Beguiling Films Show a Dogged Commitment to the Act of Looking - Margaret Tait令人迷惑的电影表现出顽强的承诺。

Margaret Tait, handmade programme notes for Tailpiece (1976). Courtesy: the Margaret Tait Estate and Orkney Library and Archive

Tait’s legacy is represented through films by the recipients of the annual award named after her, which launched in 2010. A screening schedule throughout the exhibition’s run presents work by nine Scotland-based artist-filmmakers, inaugural Margaret Tait Award-winner Torsten Lauschmann getting first billing. His 2011 film At the Heart of Everything a Row of Holes is a meditation on the roots of digital technology and the installation includes an upright self-playing piano. Other artists whose films will be screened include Stephen Sutcliffe (2012 winner), Rachel Maclean (2013), Charlotte Prodger (2014) and Sarah Forrest (2017).


Margaret Tait’s Beguiling Films Show a Dogged Commitment to the Act of Looking - Margaret Tait令人迷惑的电影表现出顽强的承诺。

Margaret Tait, Where I Am Is Here, 1968, film still. Courtesy: The Margaret Tait Estate and LUX

The exhibition occupies the main ground floor gallery at GoMA, its large windows blacked out to create a darkened space. Two screen-sized white partition walls are positioned diagonally one behind the other in the centre of the room, with wooden benches set out in front of each screen. It’s a neatly executed approach to exhibition making but one that isn’t without its problems, namely that the sound from the 30-minute Lauschmann piece – the first thing you see on entering the exhibition – can be heard throughout the space, bleeding into the headphones provided for the Tait films. A surprising oversight bearing in mind the subtle but key role of sound in Tait’s work – she was known to always add the soundtrack separately after editing the film footage, using it in a precisely considered way as if it were another character in the frame.

It’s perhaps testament to the beguiling nature of Tait’s films that they stand up to this intrusion, and the small selection of her work here – described as being chosen in order to ‘exemplify the poetry in her images’ – makes for a compelling 140-plus minutes of viewing. The looped programme starts with the silent black and white short, My Room. Via Ancona 21 (1951), a two-minute roam around the filmmaker’s living space in Rome where she studied at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. Lingering on a pair of white sandals, a hot water bottle hanging on a hook, some unspooled film, it’s a pleasurable curiosity that feels like a test run for the more fully-realized works that came after.


Margaret Tait’s Beguiling Films Show a Dogged Commitment to the Act of Looking - Margaret Tait令人迷惑的电影表现出顽强的承诺。

Margaret Tait, Portrait of Ga, 1952, film still. Courtesy: the Margaret Tait Estate and LUX

The film that follows, Portrait of Ga (1952), reveals how quickly and assuredly Tait established her distinctive approach. Shot in colour and coming in at just over four minutes in length, this brief study of her own mother encapsulates all the finer details of Tait’s technique: deft cuts from a smiling, mischievous Ga to close-up shots of the windy, treeless landscape of Orkney; a clever placing of sound; an eye for the actions that can say so much about a person’s character, from the way Ga handles a cigarette to her precise and patient unwrapping of a sticky boiled sweet.

It’s two longer, more complex works with 12 years between them that really anchor the selection, however. In Where I Am is Here (1964) we’re taken on a monochrome tour of the quotidian in the Edinburgh of the day. New sits next to old, poverty next to plenty, fire follows ice, starkly white snowflakes land on a street cleaner’s pitch-black overcoat. There is melancholy drama in every frame. Place of Work (1976) is similarly engaged with its context, but now we’re in what was Tait’s childhood home on Orkney and her work base for seven years. This time in colour, her camera doesn’t so much record the surroundings as soak them up: the house’s office space with its film cans and bookcase, the garden flowers coming to life, the road outside where we see and hear the digging, filling in and tarmacking of a long trench. Shot through an upper window, the work’s progress marks time like seasons passing, leaving a narrow snaking mark on the road’s surface. Apparently the house was later demolished by the local council. I’d like to think that, just as Tait’s films continue to resonant and inspire, the tarmac scar is still there – a prosaic memorial to work done at a particular time in a specific place.

‘Stalking the Image: Margaret Tait and her Legacy’ continues at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow until 5 May 2019.

Main image: Margaret Tait and Peter Hollander in Perugia, 1952, photograph. Courtesy: The Margaret Tait Estate and Orkney Library and Archive

Chris Sharratt

Chris Sharratt is a freelance writer and editor based in Glasgow. 

Opinion /

Margaret Tait
Lux Scotland
Artist's Film
Torsten Lauschmann
Stephen Sutcliffe
Rachel Maclean
Charlotte Prodger
Sarah Forrest

苏格兰电影制片人和诗人Margaret Tait制作了充满人性的电影。她温柔而有说服力的作品既具有强烈的个人魅力,又具有吸引力的社会性,她日常形象的明显朴素背离了她对观看行为的坚定承诺。泰特于1999年去世,100年前1918年11月11日出生于奥克尼的柯克沃尔,1951年至1998年间创作了30多部电影。“跟踪图像:玛格丽特·泰特和她的遗产”展览是苏格兰各地一系列纪念她诞辰100周年活动的一部分。她拍摄的9部电影长度从2分钟到32分钟不等,格拉斯哥现代艺术画廊也展出了这部电影,其中有装满档案材料的玻璃杯,如打字信、手绘故事板和电影制作人的16mmBolex相机。body-1-tait_s-hand.-.-notes-for-tailpiece.承蒙玛格丽特-tait-.-and-or.y-library-and-archive.jpg Margaret Tait’s Beguiling Films Show a Dogged Commitment to the Act of Looking - Margaret Tait令人迷惑的电影表现出顽强的承诺。-Margaret Tait,Tailpiece手工节目说明(1976)。泰特的遗产由以她命名的年度奖项的获得者通过电影来表现,该奖项于2010年启动。整个展览的放映时间表展示了九位苏格兰艺术家-电影制片人的作品,首届玛格丽特·泰特奖得主托尔斯滕·劳希曼获得第一笔费用。他2011年的电影《万物之心:一排洞》是对数字技术根源的沉思,其装置包括一架直立的自弹钢琴。其他将上映电影的艺术家包括斯蒂芬·萨特克里夫(2012年获奖者)、瑞秋·麦克莱恩(2013年)、夏洛特·普罗杰(2014年)和莎拉·福雷斯特(2017年)。身体-3-玛格丽特-泰特-我在-这里-1968.由玛格丽特-泰特-地产和lux.001.jpg Margaret Tait’s Beguiling Films Show a Dogged Commitment to the Act of Looking - Margaret Tait令人迷惑的电影表现出顽强的承诺。-玛格丽特-泰特,我在这里,1968,电影。礼貌:玛格丽特·泰特庄园和LUX.–展览会占据了戈马的主要一楼画廊,它的大窗户被遮住了,营造出一个黑暗的空间。两个屏幕大小的白色隔墙在房间的中心对角放置,每个屏幕的前面都有木制的长凳。这是展会制作的一种巧妙方法,但也不是没有问题的,那就是,30分钟的劳希曼作品的声音——你进入展会时看到的第一件事——可以在整个空间听到,流入为泰人提供的耳机。T膜。考虑到声音在泰特作品中的微妙但关键的作用,一个令人惊讶的疏忽——众所周知,她总是在编辑电影片段之后分别添加原声带,以一种经过仔细考虑的方式使用它,就好像它是画面中的另一个角色一样。也许,泰特电影的欺骗性证明她们经受住了这种侵扰,而泰特作品的小量选择——被描述为是为了“在她的形象中展示诗歌”——使得140多分钟的观看时间引人注目。这个循环的节目从我的房间开始。通过安科纳21(1951),两分钟漫游在罗马电影制片人的生活空间,她曾在Centro Sperim.e di电影摄影学院学习。徘徊在一双白色的凉鞋上,一个挂在钩子上的热水瓶,一些未混合的胶卷上,这是一种令人愉快的好奇心,感觉就像是对后来更充分实现的作品的测试。1952年,玛格丽特·泰特肖像画廊礼貌:玛格丽特·泰特庄园和LUX.–接下来的电影《盖的肖像》(1952)揭示了泰特建立自己独特方法的速度和把握。这篇关于她母亲的简短研究概括了泰特技巧的所有细节:从微笑、调皮的Ga到奥克尼多风的、没有树木的景色的特写镜头,敏捷的剪裁;声音的巧妙放置;从Ga处理香烟的方式到她精确而耐心地解开粘稠的煮熟的甜食,这些行为可以说明一个人的性格。这是两个更长,更复杂的作品,它们之间的12年,真正锚定的选择,但是。在这里,我在这里(1964),我们采取了一个黑白巡游的日常生活在爱丁堡的一天。新老相依,贫穷相依,火跟着冰,洁白的雪花落在清洁工漆黑的大衣上。每一帧都有忧郁的戏剧。《工作场所》(1976)也同样关注它的背景,但现在我们在泰特在奥克尼的童年家和她的工作基地生活了七年。这次,她的相机没有用彩色来记录周围环境,而是把它们吸收进去:房子的办公室空间里装着胶卷罐和书柜,花园里的花朵苏醒过来,外面的路,我们看到和听到了挖掘声,填满了一条长沟,铺上了沥青。从上部窗户射进去,作品的进展就像季节的流逝一样标志着时间,在路面上留下了一条狭窄的蛇形痕迹。显然这座房子后来被地方议会拆毁了。我想,就像泰特的电影继续引起共鸣和鼓舞一样,停机坪上的伤疤仍然存在——一个在特定时间特定地点工作的平淡的纪念碑。“跟踪图像:Margaret Tait和她的遗产”继续在格拉斯哥现代艺术画廊,直到2019年5月5日。主要图片:Margaret Tait和Peter Hollander在佩鲁贾,1952,照片。礼貌:玛格丽特·泰特庄园和奥克尼图书馆和档案馆克里斯·夏拉特是格拉斯哥的自由撰稿人和编辑。意见/玛格丽特·泰特·戈马·格拉斯哥·卢克斯·苏格兰艺术家及影片《托尔斯滕·劳希曼》斯蒂芬·萨特克里夫·雷切尔·麦克林·夏洛特导演萨拉·福雷斯特


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