Marking the launch of her long-awaited collected writings Telling Invents Told, (The Visible Press), artist and film-maker Lis Rhodes will be in conversation with Maria Palacios Cruz, the book’s editor and Deputy Director of LUX, following a screening of Dissonance and Disturbance and Running Light and readings from the book.
Telling Invents Told includes the influential essay ‘Whose History’ alongside texts from works such as Light Reading, Pictures on Pink Paper or A Cold Draft, together with new and previously unpublished materials. Since the 1970s, Rhodes has been making radical and experimental work that challenges hegemonic narratives and the power structures of language. Her writing addresses urgent political issues – from the refugee crisis to workers’ rights, police brutality, discrimination and homelessness – as well as film history and theory, from a feminist perspective. An important figure at the London Film-Makers Co-operative, Rhodes was also a founding member of Circles, the first British distributor of film and video by women artists.
Dissonance and Disturbance
Lis Rhodes, UK, 2012, 26’
A mural drawn out of three earlier films: A Cold Draft (1988), In the Kettle (2010-12) and Whitehall (2012). In the 24 years between the films – inequity has widened the rift of inequality. The mural does not actually exist without the figures in Whitehall with the intention to resist the privatization of the public. The public assets have been taken and sold – student fees have been imposed – the Education Maintenance abolished in England. The resistance to inequity is echoed in many countries in 2011 – uprisings to the violence of “austerity” that has been demanded by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Lis Rhodes, UK, 1996, 15’
In 1985 as part of research into the state of drinking water supplies, Lis Rhodes and Mary Pat Leece, an American artist living in the UK, visited West Virginia where open cast mining had polluted the water sources. While there they met Pope Barford, in Raleigh, and having talked about the devastating effects of open cast mining he began telling them of another major problem – that of migrant farmworkers. “I mean why is there slavery – why are people held against their will – if there’s not something … without the illegals … and without the migrants in general their system – it really does collapse. Like most systems it has a rational explanation for its existence… They’ve got to have that cheap labour – you’ve got to have a pool of quiet cheap workers …” The farms thirty odd years ago were not that large. The farmers were white. They were armed. The soundtrack was recorded in 1985. Minimal photographs were taken because of endangering or exploiting the migrants further.
In association with The Visible Press and LUX.
Part of Not Just Me but You Too: Cinemas of Sisterhood, April 2019 – March 2020.
This year-long season of films, entirely by women and gender non-binary filmmakers, covers artists’ and experimental film, documentary and essay film, alongside filmmaker appearances, readings, discussion and guest speakers. Expect programmes dedicated to particular makers, themed programmes with contemporary artists and celebrations of key feminist thinkers, all in dialogue with Pages Cheshire Street, a new independent bookshop dedicated to women and non-binary writers.
Lis Rhodes makes radical and experimental films and videos that challenge the viewer to reconsider the moving image as a communication medium. She uses film, performance, photography, writing and political analysis to explore the impact of language on perceptions, interactions and social relationships. Rhodes attended North East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, and has taught at the RCA and the Slade. A key figure at the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, where she was the cinema programmer, she was also a founding member of the feminist film distribution network, Circles. She served as Arts Advisor to the Greater London Council from 1982 to 1985. Rhodes’ works are in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Tate Modern and Arts Council England, and have featured in The Video Show (Serpentine Gallery, 1975), WACK!: Art and The Feminist Revolution (MOCA LA, 2007), The Tanks: Art in Action (Tate Modern, 2012) and Insomnia (Fundació Joan Miró, 2013). The publication of Telling Invents Told coincides with the major exhibition Lis Rhodes: Dissident Lines at Nottingham Contemporary (May to September 2019). A previous career survey, Lis Rhodes: Dissonance and Disturbance, was held at the ICA in 2012. Rhodes received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists in 2012 and the Freelands Award in 2017. She lives and works in London.
London-based film curator María Palacios Cruz is a co-founder of The Visible Press, Deputy Director at LUX, and a programmer for the Punto de Vista and Courtisane festivals. She is the course leader for the Film Curating programme at Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian) and has previously taught at Kingston University, Central Saint Martins, École de Recherche Graphique and Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles.