Exhibition on Screen
EXHIBITION ON SCREEN is the originator and pioneer of bringing exhibition-based art films to the cinema. Working with top international museums and galleries, EXHIBITION ON SCREEN create films which offer a cinematic immersion into the world’s best loved art, accompanied by insights from the world’s leading historians and arts critics.
John Singer Sargent is known as the greatest portrait artist of his era. What made his ‘swagger’ portraits remarkable was his power over his sitters, what they wore and how they were presented to the audience. Through interviews with curators, contemporary fashionistas and style influencers, Exhibition on Screen’s film will examine how Sargent’s unique practice has influenced modern art, culture and fashion.
Filmed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Tate Britain, London, the exhibition reveals Sargent’s power to express distinctive personalities, power dynamics and gender identities during this fascinating period of cultural reinvention. Alongside 50 paintings by Sargent sit stunning items of clothing and accessories worn by his subjects, drawing the audience into the artist’s studio.
Sargent’s sitters were often wealthy, their clothes costly, but what happens when you turn yourself over to the hands of a great artist? The manufacture of public identity is as controversial and contested today as it was at the turn of the 20th century, but somehow Sargent’s work transcends the social noise and captures an alluring truth with each brush stroke.
The National Gallery of London is one of the world’s greatest art galleries. It is full of masterpieces, an endless resource of history, an endless source of stories. But whose stories are told? Which art has the most impact and on whom? The power of great art lies in its ability to communicate with anyone, no matter their art historical knowledge, their background, their beliefs.
This film gives voice to those who work at the gallery – from cleaner to curator, security guard to director – who identify the one artwork that means the most to them and why. An assortment of people from all walks of life who have a strong connection to the gallery make surprising choices of both well-known and lesser-known artworks. Finally, some well-known celebrities explain what they head for when they visit the gallery.
These stories are used as a lens through which to explore the 200-year history of the National Gallery and what the future may hold for this spectacular space.