Sculptor, film-maker and photographer Nancy Holt was an artist who developed an innovative way of exploring our relationship with the planet. She and the influential curator Amos Vogel will be featured in retrospectives at the forthcoming edition of the festival.
American artist Nancy Holt is to feature in one of the retrospectives at the 2021 Punto de Vista festival (from 15th to 20th march 2021), a section that sets out to revisit the history of film by connecting it to the present and, in turn, to give exposure to film-makers and artists whose work has been little seen in Spain.
Nancy Holt (Worcester, Massachusetts, 1938) moved to New York in 1960 after graduating in Biology from Tufts University. There she began experimenting with photography, video, installations and sound art. In the 1970s she made a series of pioneering films, including several projects together with her husband, Robert Smithson. In her first video work she explores perception and memory by experimenting with point of view and process, as well as pushing the technical boundaries of this medium.
The films to be screened at the festival include works like Pine Barrens (1975), East Coast, West Coast (1969), Swamp (1971), Mono Lake (1968/2004), Revolve (1977) and Sun Tunnels (1978). The latter film documents the creation of Nancy Holt's most important piece of sculpture, designed for a specific location in the desert of north-western Utah. The sculpture consists of a structure based on four concrete tubes or "tunnels" aligned with the rising and setting sun at the summer and winter solstices. “The panoramic view of the landscape is too overwhelming to take in without visual reference points (. . .) through the tunnels, parts of the landscape are framed and come into focus (. . .) the work encloses surrounds,” explained Nancy Holt.
Nancy Holt's work seeks to explore the relationships between art, human beings and the spaces they inhabit, so meditating on the points where they come together in a poetic, subjective way. “I feel that the need to look at the sky—at the moon and the stars—is very basic, and it is inside all of us. So when I say my work is an exteriorization of my own inner reality, I mean I am giving back to people through art what they already have in them.”
Punto de Vista is organising this retrospective, curated by the festival's art director Garbiñe Ortega. It will include the screening of a series of four programmes bringing together films by Nancy Holt and also some titles by professional colleagues including Joan Jonas, Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark, in a series on the relationship between space and perception.
Amos Vogel will be the other protagonist of the Retrospectives section at Punto de Vista 2021. This year sees the 100th anniversary of his birth, and Punto de Vista wants to pay homage to this figure as a curator with this retrospective, featuring a series of 6 programmes created by Filmoteca Navarra and curated by Regina Schlagnitweit and Alexander Horwath, ex director of the Vienna Film Museum and of Viennale. Amos Vogel founded CINEMA 16 in New York in 1947 together with his wife Marcia Vogel, a non-profit organisation devoted to showing 16 mm films that could not be seen in commercial cinemas. This initiative brought thousands of people into cinemas and was of incalculable value in promoting the work of some great film-makers.
Nancy Holt and Amos Vogel will be the two major figures to whom Punto de Vista is to pay homage this year in their retrospectives.