Guy Sherwin studied painting at Chelsea School of Art in the late 1960s before being drawn to the radical film practice of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative (now LUX) where he taught printing and processing during the mid-’70s. His films investigate fundamental qualities of cinema such as light and time, and often use serial forms or live elements to extend its possibilities. The unique, elusive qualities of analogue film are explored through experiments with sound, image and film in live performance.
Recent works, made in collaboration with artist Lynn Loo, include performances of Live Cinema utilising multiple projectors and optical sound (sounds made from light) in conjunction with improvised music. These have toured to Europe, USA, Asia, and Australia and have often involved collaborations with musicians. See Notes on the Film Performances.
Sherwin’s films for single screen have been included in major surveys of artists’ film: ‘Film as Film’ Hayward Gallery 1979, ‘Live in Your Head’ Whitechapel Gallery 2000, Shoot Shoot Shoot Tate Modern 2002, ‘A Century of Artists’ Film & Video’ Tate Britain 2003/4; also shown on BBC2, Channel 4 and Arte TV France. Recent performances include Performa Biennale, New York 2013; Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Seoul South Korea 2014; ICA London 2014, Latitude Festival Suffolk 2014. His films are in the collections of Tate Gallery, Cinematheque Francaise, BFI London, British Council, National Library of Australia, LightCone Paris, Canyon Cinema San Francisco and the British Artists’ Film & Video Study Collection. EYE Institute Amsterdam holds many of the 16mm archive masters.
Founded in 1966, the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative started life at Better Books, a counter-culture bookshop on Charing Cross Road, where a group led by poet Bob Cobbing and filmmakers Stephen Dwoskin and Jeff Keen met to screen films. Initially inspired by the activities of the New American Cinema Group in New York, the London Co-op grew into a pioneering organisation that incorporated a film workshop, cinema space and distribution office. During its four-decade history, the Co-op played a crucial role in establishing film as an art form in the UK and participated in a vibrant international film scene. This BFI Player collection brings together new scans of films distributed by and/or produced at the London Co-op.