JAMES CRUMP

AFTER L.A., NEW YORK AND RIO DE JANEIRO, LAST FRIDAY THE FILM ‘TROUBLEMAKERS: THE STORY OF LAND ART” HAS BEEN PREVIEWED AT FONDAZIONE PRADA IN MILAN. WE HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH FILM DIRECTOR JAMES CRUMP ABOUT THE MOVIE. THE DOCUMENTARY TELLS THE STORY OF HOW, AS THE 60S TURNED INTO THE 70S, SOME UNRULY NEW YORK ARTISTS BEGAN MAKING MONUMENTAL EARTHWORKS IN THE GREAT, EMPTY SPACES OF THE DESERTS AND SALT LAKES OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST; THE SORT OF ART THAT COULD NEVER BE CONTAINED IN A MUSEUM, NOR SOLD AT AN ART FAIR

redmilk_James Crump _img

Hello James, first of all thank you for this beautiful film, it was extremely interesting and touching.

Really? I am glad you enjoy it and that i’ve been able to touch the italian crowd for the crossover relationship that there is with Germano Celant (internationally acknowledged for his theories on arte povera; he is the author of more than one hundred publications, including both books and catalogues), Gianfranco Gorgoni – an Italian-born photographer who in the late 1960s and early 1970s photographed visual artists of the avant-garde – and Vito Acconci that has been a vital presence in contemporary art since the late 1960s and they are all involved in the movie.

After seeing the film i have to ask which is your personal and favorite ‘land art’?

It’s Double Negative by Michael Heizer. Seen above from near the edge of the work, and below from space via satellite, Double Negative consists of two trenches cut into the eastern edge of the Mormon Mesa, northwest of Overton, Nevada in 1969-70. Having spent so much time on site i’ve been really moved by the entire installation; i think i can only describe it as a spiritual moment even if i am an atheist but it was in a way spiritual a very special moment. It is located on a mesa and it makes you feel you are on another planet, on Mars maybe. And this relationship with the sky and the horizon and the space, it makes you really realize how insignificant we are compared to the landscape. Your self, your body, you are insignificant to the cosmo. The metaphysical aspect mentioned in the film are really profound and they cannot be down played, it part of the experience. I didn’t say it during the Q&A today, but i’ll say to you know: i believe that photography will never ever replace the actual experience of going to the site but in order to be inspired you have to talk about the works and film is a way to do it. But i really think you have to go on site because what you see really leaves an extraordinary sensation. Whe i went with the crew everyone was so emotional about this, truly.

How much do you think geometry is important in this kind of art and it it has a role in your film?

Well, we didn’t go into this too much in the film but geometry is surely a very important element. It’s all about ancient geometry, geometry of the pyramids for example. The film includes rare footage and interviews which unveil the enigmatic lives and careers of storied artists Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field) and Michael Heizer (Double Negative) and in each of them geometry has an important, vital role, recollecting also the the stars, seasons, solstice.

Our October issue is about portraits. How was your approach to the three main artists feature din the film and the way you wanted to portray them.

Well, i tried to make something that it was accurate, i tried the make a story that used the information and the artistry of these people in an intelligent way. I also had to make an entertainment but i think there’s an intelligent balance. The way i portrayed them is very genuine, there’s a lot of reality and truth in the representation of each of those artist and i think you get that. I think that the recollection of those that are not around anymore are very intimate and the portrails are accurate. Because they are a sort of hero for me. And i believe they sold themselves that way as well.

Last question: how long did it take to put the film together?

The film had a long gestation period, intellectually. I did an interview with Micheal Heizer in 2003 and from that point it began to evolve as an idea for me as a film director. But it took actually 13 months to be produced, late 2013 we started and it was pretty fast. But as i mentioned before i was moved to finish it quickly because it was the right time to give exposure to those artists. It’s really a story that should be told now for a variety of reasons and because of where we are at this moment.

 

James Crump was portrayed by photographer Fabrizio Consoli at Fondazione Prada in Milan.