The Girl Chewing Gum

1976

Smith, John
'The Girl Chewing Gum' came about after I saw François Truffaut's 'Day for Night', a film about the making of a film in 1975. Although I had been making films myself for almost three years, it had never occurred to me that every detail of the action in almost all feature films, even the incidental background action in street scene, is planned and directed. Like many other film works made by British artists in the 1970s, 'The Girl Chewing Gum' was made in ideological opposition to mainstream cinema. A primary aim of the film was to undermine its inherent illusionism, drawing attention to its own artifice (rather than conventional practice of attempting to disguise it). The film draws attention to the cinematic apparatus by denying its existence, treating representation as an absolute reality in its own right. It achieves this by using a voice-over to subvert the reading of the image, marking the beginnings of my ongoing love/hate relationship with the power of the word.
  • Artwork Details: running time: 12 minutes
  • Edition:
  • Material description: 16mm transferred to DVD loop
  • Credit line: © the artist
  • Theme: Undefined
  • Medium: Film and Audio Visual
  • Accession number: ACC37/2006

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