Unexpected Views: Andrea Luka Zimmerman on Caravaggio | National Gallery
Ah hi. My name is Andrea, Lucca Zimmerman I am an, artist and filmmaker and my work is concerned with. Marginalization. Social, justice, and waywardness. And a, search for radical, relations, between people, place and ecology. So. Good evening everyone so. Lovely to see you all here thanks so much for coming I'm Karen Easley I'm a head of learning and national, programs here at the National Gallery, it's. A really exciting, event. For me to bring this beautiful. Caravaggio. Painting together with such, an inspiring contemporary, artists and that's what unexpected views, is about asking. Contemporary, artists, to, choose a painting, and to talk about how it's relevant to their practice, and because. If the, collection, we're so lucky to have this incredible. Collection and it's relevant to all of our lives it's just a matter of thinking about the themes that you can pull out. So. Also. Thank you so much to Hiscox insurance. For sponsoring, this program we, couldn't do it without their support so. I'm really excited. To introduce Andrea. Lucca Zimmerman who, is here, with us this evening and she's reader and lecturer. In dramaturgy. And devising, for performance, at Central, Saint Martins I had. Written a really long. Introduction. But we. Decided that actually it's much more important, there love the time this evening is given to hearing what Andrea has to say so, all I'm going to say is that her, work is really concerned, with marginalization. And waywardness. People. Being excluded. Social. Justice, and how, we might reimagine. And a radical. New. Society. Where people place. And, ecology, come together in a different way and her, work is. In. Many forms, she's. Co-directed. And. Directed. For feature-length, artist, films and shorts, and she's, exhibited, internationally including. In, London at Whitechapel, and. Bristol, spike Island and she's also co-edited. Several. Books looking. At similar themes so. It's an absolute pleasure to have Andrea, with us here, evening, and we. Are talking about this painting. Perhaps, Caravaggio's. One of his most well known paintings. Supper. At Emmaus, which, was painted in 1601, and I'm not going to say a huge, amounts about it because hopefully that will come up in our conversation. But. Caravaggio. Was an amazing. From. What we know a, character, in life as well as in his creation. Of his art so, he lived life to the full shall we say and. Lived in a very dramatic way so, he. Was known as being arrogant and he. Actually was, taken. To trial for murder and. Didn't. Back away from violence he lived between, destitution. But, then actually also stayed. In grandpa lapses, and and lived, a very decadent luxurious life, at times in his life so he moved between, sections. Of society in a really interesting way and this, painting, was painted perhaps, at the height of his fame and. Represents. The drama. And theater, of his work and actually why people. At the time and now find it so compelling, and interesting he. Draws a scene with these incredible, life-size, figures, and sense, of drama and light. So. This painting particularly. Supper. And mayor's as. I say was painted in 1601, and. Represents. The, story, of. The. Third day after the crucifixion, so. Two disciples, were walking from Jerusalem. To a village then called, Emmaus and they, were talking, about the fact that the. Tomb had been found empty and. Discussing. This as they were walking along and they, came across a third person, on this route he was listening and they. Didn't realize who. They were walking, with and so this character, invited, them for supper. And you can see them here with the innkeeper, in the background. Symbolically. In the darkness, and everyone else in the light because this is the moment of Revelation. When, these two disciples. Realize. Who they are sharing. Their meal with. When. Jesus. They. Realized that Jesus has come back after. The crucifixion it's, of the, resurrection, and then, Jesus disappears, so this moment captures, that absolute. Point of drama, when. They have this incredible. Life. Moment. Of Revelation. Of realizing, that Jesus is back, amongst them, but, I'm, not going to say any more at the moment I think we should, move. On to asking. Andrea you know you. Were very very clear, straight away why you wanted, to choose this painting, and I wonder if you could tell us why.
So. There are quite. A few reasons and should, we show the clip, yes. Before can we show the forth clip first, all, right we've. Lined it up all quite differently. So. I wanted to show a clip that will and. I'd take over from there so. Children. Until, they are educated, out of it on a force to accept and mystifications, look. At images and interpret, them very, directly they. Connect any image, whether from a comic or from the National Gallery directly. With their own experience. Of. The Caravaggio. What. Did, you think about him saying that, it might be Jesus. Some. What do you think is a man some of you think is. Most. Of the boys thought, he was a man. Because. They were really looking and really, relating, what they saw to their own experience. They. Recognized something that most adults wouldn't, without. Knowing the artist's name let alone anything about Caravaggio is life all the fact that he was a homosexual they. Immediately, saw how, sexually, ambivalent the, principal figure was. So. This was a clip from ways of seeing and. When. I was asked to choose, a painting, it, I just had this painting, in mind because I. Often. Think about in, related, when, I make a new work I look at a lot of paintings and so in my last film which you're gonna see some clips of in a short, while I came, here again to look at paintings to get inspiration and Caravaggio has always been a really big inspiration for my work, also. How I work with light and darkness. So. I command paintings, from a really different way so it's very visual without knowing anything about them so I didn't know anything about this painting at all other, than knowing, this clip from ways of seeing and what john bersia wrote about. Caravaggio, which I would like to read because I think it's very related, to my own work and, it's not very much very long and, it's from and. Our, faces, my heart briefest, photos, if anyone was interested so. So. John Barger was also, a painter, and so, he painted in the same place where Caravaggio, came from, in. The 1940s. In the streets of Livorno and he said it, was there to such, embarrasses. It was there too that I discovered, what. That I wanted as well as little as possible to do in this world with those wield, power this. Has turned out to be a lie flung a version the. Complete complicity. Of filled with Caravaggio, began I think during that time in Livorno. He, was the first painter, of life as experienced. By the pas Palacio, the, people of the backstreets the. Song Colette the lump and proletariat. The lower orders those. Of lower depths, the underworld, there is no word in any traditional. European language, which, does not either denigrate, or patronize, the urban poor in its naming that, is power and. For. Me this is a really key. Key. Moment about understanding. Power through the hierarchies, of representation. And so. There two points. Which came together when I was asked about which painting to choose and one was the binaries, that we create around gender and how. We read people, and why we always have to how, we socialized. To have certain attributes upon. People. That are looking a certain way because of the way in which we look at them, and. Then the second way. Is about, how do we negotiate, power, and relationships, of power through, the visual representation, and how can we actually then. Use this knowledge to. Pry. Open a different space and we inscribe a reframe, or D frame, another. Presence, making that that's why I'm really interested in and I think. Yeah. And I think it's really interesting in terms of how Caravaggio. Painted. Because he. Couldn't. Afford but also probably knew the power of, asking people. He knew he didn't pay his models so these are just, people that he would no ordinary, people and actually, again at the time caused controversy because, these, are ordinary, people playing, the disciples, in this painting so, it feels similar. You know those people, perhaps on the edges but representing. Really. Important, characters, in this in this story but. We should look, at some clips, of Andrea's work to give you a sense we're going to play them all together we thought actually. We prefer just, to create. An. Atmosphere of her work and give you a sense of all of it rather than keep stopping and starting so. We hope that works for you and so if we if we move on to the clip so there are three clips one is the first one is from here for life which is the most recent film, then the previous clip is from a state of reverie which is two films previous, but they're very related and then, the last clip is again from here for life so, just so you know kind of where you are.
I'm. Afraid of, annihilation. You, really do I mean you guys maybe you don't know or, already, think you can't paint it you know - any. Part of it what else can you really do - it's not. A circus nothing really. Okay. You can do it's that refused to get, to run two boxes, mm-hmm. And you order, more I'm just putting flowers in between, yeah, Jamaican, you know and then put a bitches, off of em I might put the cursor, then. That would make, it look a bit nicer until, you Dooley yeah, yeah yeah. So. You know what they said time. To go and then. They left flat reverse here out. Of sight out of mind, well, we weren't and we, aren't. So. You know what we say. We, are here. I'm gonna have a syllabic, fun did this. Place. Your bets now the race is off. Say. Singing. Low down. Low, down. With a little green phantom. Shine. Amazing. Done with the old that, one and, she can, never be long. It's. Right to limits, devote tonight. We, Thunder dancing, round i, spider. Face, by the fiery live defeats. From all to the ground, she'll, he, smiled, and she neither spoke, she smiled and went away. And. When she'd, gone my heart was broken my wings was cleaned. Stole. Your ring in the light we, be let, me offer. You. Ring, my, boot aloud, to the sea before, I went, one, of. These. Right please. The, stars. And. It's your time to reach, for line, before. I change my. Nose. With four, churches won't. Evolve. Remote. Until, the, spring. Meet, your top two i brown. Before my. Bells. Dinging. I. Always. Wanted, to go to India never managed there. We've done a bit of traveling. You. Never got to the one place they really wanted to go to. And. Well in Northern Ireland a couple of years ago. Which. Is great. Strange. Race, wheels. Place. Pina. You. Feel years back when I was a little bit younger I used to get more jealous than I am now. You. Mustn't be jealous of other people. That's. What my father says you. Don't know what they've gone through to, get that and. You don't know what will happen to them in the future. Just. Make do with what you got anything, else that you want find, a way to work for it work yourself, out of the city out of the slum. No. Let them heat let. Them heat my time will come to eat, you. Know my time will come to eat. So. Much for sharing, those clips with us it. Was a really interesting experience, reading about this painting, and watching Andrea's work again and so. Many connections seem to come for. Example and I didn't know what, where Emmaus was and looked it up and the. Disciples, were on their way to a village where which. Is known the philosophy, was that people, with learning disabilities. Lived in an integrated way in the town and cared, for each other which I I didn't, know about this painting before and actually it seemed, pertinent. And, lots of your work that. Way, of living. Together and, caring, collaborating, for each other and particularly in estate. Which is about Haggerty, hagga stone estate which is where you lived and this. Building, was pulled, down over several. Years I think it was a long process and, you still live on that estate I wonder if you could tell us something about, how you collaborate with people and share with people to create your work. So. I never wanted to make work on the in the place where I lived. But because, when. I knew that it state was going I realized, oh my god you know what actually is this place that I'm living in. Because. It was the most extraordinary place, at which there are many communities, I like this right so this is not the only one but, you don't really look at your own place and this you know it's going I think sometimes, so. I realized there was a hairdresser on the estate which I clearly don't use right but. Her. Youngest, client was in her 70s, so, she was serving a very important, function for people, on the estate. That, were like there was a food co-op which still sort of exists, but the food co-op had existed since the 70s already and then, it was always closed down and it was reopened was closed down so it was incredible. Looking. After each other also structurally. Where. People could could. Live it was one of those places where people were dumped. Including, me when I was first offered a place there you know how to let a. Flat, and how, to let flats they were cold when people had turned them down like four families had turned them or something, so.
There Were notorious, sink estates but, there were actually really incredible, community places, because people from all over the place live died and it. Was a temporary space but. People had been there for 30 years and by the time we, all had to move away right so it was a long-term temporary, space which meant that we, made the space together so nobody had really ownership, but we wanted to make it as pleasant as possible why we were all that which meant that. Table. Tennis tables, and picnic, tables paintings. Were done inside, the courtyard, and people would really communicate. And talk to each other, it. Was such a beautiful place I can't really quite describe and it was the only home they've ever had like because I've even, when I was a kid my mom was traveling, she had a lot of problems, so, I never lived in a place for a very long time apart from in that place and, so. When we were losing it we really fought to try and keep it but. Then anyway we lost it so I knew I needed to make a film to have a memory, of this place and all these people who live there and. You. Know there were people struggling, with serious health issues but there were no advocacy, workers anymore and it was the first round of cuts that happened before austerity, and which. Meant that loads. Of work, was. Done by the neighbors for each other, but. At the same time you know there were people who literally couldn't leave the flat on the fourth floor if they wouldn't have any neighbors of which, there were very few when they, put. All the orange boards up because they literally, forced people out of one short live housing so, you had in a few, neighbors left who are looking after the other neighbors which couldn't go and buy food for themselves and there was no structure, that would come, no social services that would come and I, don't know if anyone if his experience trying to get hold of social services it's, not easy it's, not easy so.
So. There were a lot of these kind of issues but there were also like incredible. Caring. And tender, relations. And because, of that as well so, you, would feel like you could go somewhere and be safe there, so it was also safe estate for young people to come in if they, had gun trouble for example and people who look out for them so I, had like I learned a lot from my neighbors and how, to care for each other and how. To look out for each other as a community in, difference, and I think that's really important to really watch out for those, people who are also not part of your direct experience but. You learn 10 count each other and I think that's what London was over so special for, me living. So when I started filming I, also. Filmed all the meetings, everything. That went around it but in the end was really about showing, a counter memory. That. Was existing regardless. And because, of, these. Structures, and, regardless, and otherwise I mean like you. Know the new all. Representation, of working-class lives or immigrant, lives are often done by. People looking or we need to help these lives you know these are lives that haven't got very much and some of the people had a lot of money they had really good pensions, they just chose to live in a different way and I, think these kind of lives have to be allowed also, right so there's a really complex and nuanced way of looking at stuff that's, on one it is structural, but no other hand is also are we actually allowing people to be who they want to be, so. I wanted to show this counter memory and to make a, to. Have a, for. Me culture, is a way in which we can express these difficult questions but also celebrate, each other and. Celebrate the lives that are marginalized, marginalized. On purpose often also in order to enforce structural change such. As like oh you, know like people on this estate I remember when the 2008. Economic. Crash happened it immediately. All around Hackney it was bus stops benefit, fraudsters we're gonna get you so, it was our community, that was completely misrepresented and, the, first. Phase of redevelopment. So. They had like a holding, with all the stock photographs and he looked like royalty. You know so their faces real faces just, become absent, from a place and so, as a filmmaker, for me what's really important is to try and understand the sense of belonging or not belonging or the.
Sense Of encounter or this encounter, what makes me strange from from, my neighbor and. To try and understand it's very hard to put into words so I wanted to make this film that was. Made collaboratively. But also really probed so we had loads of workshops, we had loads of questions, and people, came in with proposals and. So became this mishmash of stuff, looking. At architecture looking, at gender looking at races. And looking at. Anything. You can think of and we were discussing it and out of that can see, Kame. Documentary. Footage but also long-term observation historical. Reenactments, where, the costumes, didn't quite fit because it doesn't really fit us history history is always much more nuanced than, even. Historians, because they only come also from some, perspective and for me what was important, about this was. We. Cannot make history by ourselves we, have to if you have to have all these different voices and a multiplicity, of voices to make history really alive. Otherwise it's just one power, a history of power which is just not sufficient and it's so lovely to hear you saying. That in front of this painting, which, obviously. Painted the, people are the life size and you. Know we're being the. Disciple, here in it's, assumed that this is Peter he's, kind of holding out his hands to welcome, us in, and, almost. If you see the the bowl of flip fruit sort of teetering, off the. Table, inviting, us to grab it and to be. Part of this scene it's a very generous. Painting. That invites us to be part of this moment of Revelation, there's a real. Chime. Also, with how you speak about different, people coming together you know it was very, controversial, at the time for the disciples, to be painted, as ordinary, people. And that, this really important, moment has, ordinary. People, inviting. All of us to be part of it and a community to be made up of all sorts of different people and to share things. Together that really matter to us or so it feels there's a real correlation. With, what the things you're exploring, I think, in your films too you. Get this lovely is. Quite hard sometimes to understand, whether people are being themselves whether, you're observing, them whether they're playing a character, particularly. In here for life people. Seem to move in and out of different.
Kind. Of senses, of themselves, I wonder if you could say anything about that so. I I think for, me what's really important also the. It's. An overlap, like we are not just one. We. Are not just one, personality. We have so many different things depending on which, situation, we're in which environment who is encountering. Us whom our being, and so. These liberties of us against the world and rubbing against the world and I'm interested I guess in. When. People become, part of the self representation but, also challenge, the representation, you know like language right so we use the same language and it can mean completely opposite, things like Umberto Eco things that said that and we see this a lot in politics, so we say one thing but actually we, can just say we have democracy doesn't really mean anything right. But. Language is so important, it's, so important because it's. Through, language also that we understand, perhaps we can name something or unnamed it so. For me filmmaking, in here. For life like in there are two people who are really, influential. Also in the film here which I'm it's, to raise and Gareth that's it over there it's, later you wouldn't see them, so. You didn't want to point yet but. The. There's. A way in which people also, have to have agency, I think in my work. To. Participate, in their own representation. And that doesn't just mean okay I'm gonna play a. Person. That I see and benefit, Street or there I see in a costume. Drama it, just means what are the kind of people that we think we can be you. Know history is a rehearsal almost, for a different way of life. That's. How Adrian who does who, I was collaborating, with on the Adrian Jackson on here. For life he. Does forum theatre and and forum, theatre it's a very radical theater. Practice developer, goes to wall and it's really beautiful because it evokes, I guess the practice, of living. In a different way so you have like registers, live theater, and all of socials are different kind of opportunities. To make the. World otherwise and to make this into a film so for me, it's. Really important, to find a way, of expressing, that is dreamy, poetic. Gesturing. Outwards but, also questioning. At the same time so because it's a very emotional medium. Firm is it's not just an insert like it. Goes both from the body and the mind right and it can do only that which film can do is I'm interested in cinema in that way as well even though there may be documentaries, so, they have to go, beyond that initial. Something. And that comes. Magnificently. Only if you allow an open space to, work with people. Stable. Pushed. This space. So much further than one can as a director, even or as a writer I think imagine, it you know so you can open it up rather than close it and I'm interested in in people, for that for in will what's, called real people, but like people, who are not performing. To be somebody else, by. Observing, them but people who are performing somebody else by also being inhabiting. Having the body of somebody was. Where's. The scars I guess of life, which. We all have and I think we need to have the more openly because the, more vulnerable we can say we are the. More kind we might be with each other or tender. With each other in a way and. That's a really lovely what I, think the last clip that we saw that was from here for life. Where. Richard. And I don't know the name of the other Madrick Patrick, went, to Dungeness, and we see them in the boats and the whole atmosphere. Changes. The light feels different, there's a sense of air and. Richard. Said something about not, being jealous of other people, and I. Know. Working, generously. And. Is. Working. In moderation, is very important, to you and and having. A kind of measured, and balanced way of working and he, sort of articulates, that so beautifully.
I Wonder, if you could tell us a little bit about that scene I mean. I think also why I'm interested in Caravaggio, and. The people, he know I learn a lot more about Caravaggio. Because. It was purely visual as, I said earlier on but. I, think. What's really important for me is that phone, for me often is so excessive, it, uses an apparatus that it's very excessive and I, really love cinema right so I say this with with. Her very, it's. A very complex, relationship I, have to it and I think it has to be modest to you in a way because I cannot justify work with the people I work with and then having an apparatus that is, wealthy. I find. It I think. You. Know we have to spread stuff in a way we can you know the camera I used trophy for a year for life costs 500, pounds and it's, sure I think quite beautifully, right and, that, it's. Possible. Everything is possible if, you and I have this well right I wanted, to prove, always that I can do. If I, have. The chance, and. In here for life it was more important for us to have people paid over along the period of times we could work with them for longer then. To spend it all on cameras, and work with people less long and not have so much of this process, and that was a real gift because it was a commission from our angels so we had this base and the time and the support which was very beautiful, but. I think in terms of working. With people it's important, that, we. Can do a lot and we have to open culture up I think, in a way that doesn't mean that we. Have to work on minimal budgets all the time but we have to spread the good news out we can't just have a few. People make something, I think they have to be properly. Radical. About whom, be inviting, to contribute to culture it has to be much more open than it is I really do think it's important otherwise become more impoverished. And, we have to have a, lively. Conversation I think also around what constitutes. Culture, what, constitutes. Representation, we don't have enough of these kind of conversations and, so. I think. In my working practice I usually have, to work on very low modest budgets and because. It's process driven and it's very hard to find funding, for process. Even. Though I know in the end there will be something that will be a film. But. Funders can't easily fund. That they say you, know it's just the system that we have, exists. Either like this or like this but there in between which is the most interesting doesn't really quite yet exist and it will one day hopefully. So. But, also I'm. Drawn to working, on my feet because that means I'm flexible and I can actually spend time to find out who do I want to work with instead. Of having, to just hire people to make my vision alone I'm not so interested in that I'm.
Much More interested in inserting. Myself in a space and asking finding the right questions, I guess it's the hardest I think is to find the right questions, to ask of the world and the people you work with and. Then the questions, come out in through, the people you work with into, the work and then, then it will work I mean it will work as in its will do its work I think rather. Than just, be an object for, decoration, and we were having a conversation earlier. Weren't we about and I. Guess, those, spaces for people to have genuine, discussions. And how we've, set up quite hierarchical. Structures, that enable certain. People to have more agency and voice their opinions more than others perhaps and it brings us really beautifully. Back as we need, to draw this part of the conversation, to an end but to that john. Bersia a cliff in the beginning and you know the children, who actually often, a a scene in a certain way and that we think we have to teach them, actually. Within a few seconds, they'd picked up on this, really interesting kind of gender fluidity, of. Jesus. In the painting, which as I say you, know did offend people some, people at the time because he was represented, in a very different, way in those children. Because. They were given that space and, we, were listening and you were interested enough, to show you that here and we, get a very interesting opinion. Straight away in a different point of view yeah. And I wanted to say because this is how important, it is even though knowledge. Is important, but, it's also important, that knowledge, is questioned, all the time and it seems so obvious right but when we see them kids refresh, something. We know it's, really important, it's what makes us be alive, like in a different way so I really always welcome that kind of, the. Question, and that unknown. Assumption. On socialized, non yet socialized, assumption, into narrow. Pathways. Maybe. That's a perfect, point to thank Andrea, Luca, Zimmerman for her really. Interesting insight into her own practice and this, beautiful Caravaggio, painting, thank, you so much thank you. Thank. You for watching and if you would like to know more and please, click on the link below.