Transcript: Painting Beyond Painting: Ellen Gallagher | Feb 18, 2019

(music plays)

Logo: TVF International.

Fast clips show images of contemporary art objects.

The narrator says THE CONTEMPORARY
ART WORLD IS VIBRANT AND
BOOMING AS NEVER BEFORE.
IT'S A 21ST CENTURY PHENOMENA;
A GLOBAL INDUSTRY IN ITS OWN
RIGHT.
BRILLIANT IDEAS
LOOKS AT THE
ARTISTS AT THE HEART OF THIS.
ARTISTS WITH A UNIQUE POWER TO
ASTONISH, CHALLENGE AND
SURPRISE.
IN THIS PROGRAM, AMERICAN
PAINTER AND FILMMAKER, ELLEN
GALLAGHER.

Ellen is in her late forties, with long braided brown hair in a bun and wears a white shirt with a print on the front and a long beaded necklace.

The name of the show appears in white letters against different colourful abstract backgrounds. It reads "Brilliant Ideas."

A song says I-D-E-A-S
IDEAS

A clip shows images of Ellen's abstract pieces of art at an art gallery.

A caption reads "Zoe Whitley. Curator of International Art Tate Modern."

Zoe is in her thirties, with long curly brown hair in an updo and wears a blue blazer and a green statement necklace.

Zoe says ELLEN GALLAGHER'S
WORK, FOR ME, IS ALL ABOUT WIT
AND SKILL.
I THINK THERE ARE FEW ARTISTS
WHO POSSESS THE SKILL THAT SHE
DOES, JUST THINKING ABOUT HER
APPROACH TO MATERIALS, HER
DRAFTSMANSHIP, THE-- THE QUALITY
OF IDEAS, BUT EQUALLY, THAT
SHE'S OFTEN ABLE TO DO THAT IN
SUCH A PLAYFUL AND INCLUSIVE
WAY.
TO ME, THAT'S WHAT MAKES ALL THE
DIFFERENCE.

Different abstract paintings and collages appear on screen.

The caption changes to "Caro Howell. Director, The Founding Museum."

Caro is in her forties, with short, layered brown hair with bangs and wears a printed black blouse and a pearl necklace.

She says HER WORK IS ATTRACTIVE NOT
MERELY ON A VISUAL LEVEL, BUT
BECAUSE IT IS WORK THAT SEEMS TO
ENCOURAGE YOU TO JOIN HER IN THE
PROCESS OF INQUIRY THAT SHE IS
ON, RATHER THAN BEING SOMETHING
WHICH IS CONFRONTATIONAL OR
EXCLUDING OR EXCLUSIVE.
AND I THINK THE WAY THAT SHE IS
ABLE TO ENCOURAGE US TO MAKE
THESE CONNECTIONS THROUGH WORK
THAT IS TECHNICALLY INCREDIBLY
ACCOMPLISHED AND VISUALLY
EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTIFUL AND
CULTURALLY VERY, VERY RICH.
I FIND HER WORK FASCINATING.

A clip shows an old cigarette ad intervened with 3D materials.

Another piece of art shows a man with a tree top head.

The narrator says ELLEN GALLAGHER BURST ONTO
THE CONTEMPORARY ART SCENE IN
THE EARLY '90S, AND CAUGHT THE
ATTENTION OF CURATORS AND
COLLECTORS ALIKE.

The caption changes to "Anthony d'Offay. Art collector."

Anthony is in his sixties, bald and clean-shaven and wears a gray cardigan sweater.

He says I IMMEDIATELY LIKED HER WORK.
IN EVERY CASE, THEY WERE
FANTASTIC AND REALLY POWERFUL
AND IMPORTANT, AND YOU COULD SEE
THAT SHE WAS GONNA BE A GREAT
ARTIST.

The narrator says ALTHOUGH ONE OF THE MOST
HIGHLY REGARDED AMERICAN
ARTISTS IN THE WORLD, FOR
ELLEN, CREATING WORK IS FULL OF
CHALLENGE.

The caption changes to "Ellen Gallagher."

Ellen says THERE'S THIS THING THAT
HAPPENS WHEN YOU-- WHEN YOU'RE
STARTING WORK, NOT JUST WHEN
YOU'RE STARTING IT.
YOU CAN BE WELL INTO IT, AND
IT'S JUST NOT HAPPENING, AND YOU
RIDE HOME ON YOUR BIKE, AND IT'S
THE WORST FEELING.
IT'S JUST THE WORST POSSIBLE
FEELING, AND IT'S REALLY
UNRESOLVABLE.
SO WHAT'S REALLY NICE ARE THOSE
FEW TIMES WHERE YOU GO HOME AND
YOU'RE LIKE-- THERE'S LITERALLY
A-A THREAD CONNECTING YOU BACK
TO THE STUDIO, 'CAUSE YOU CAN'T
WAIT TO GET BACK.
THE WORK BECOMES A BEING,
AND-- AND...THAT'S, FOR ME, THE
MOST PERFECT TIME IN THE WORK.
THAT'S THE BEST.

The narrator says ELLEN WAS BORN IN 1965 ON THE
EAST COAST OF AMERICA TO AN
AFRICAN-AMERICAN FATHER AND AN
IRISH CATHOLIC MOTHER.

Childhood pictures of Ellen appear.

Ellen says MY SISTER AND I WERE RAISED
BY MY MOM IN PROVIDENCE, RHODE
ISLAND, AND SO IT WAS SORT OF
THE THREE OF US, THIS KIND OF
CORE OF THE FAMILY.
MY MOM WAS REALLY SEEN AS, YOU
KNOW, THAT WAS SORT OF OUT THAT
SHE DID THAT, YOU KNOW, HAD TWO
DAUGHTERS ON HER OWN IN-- YOU
KNOW, IN THE '60S, AND NOW I
THINK THAT'S NOT REALLY A BIG
DEAL, IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT.
I HAD A REALLY, PRETTY
STRAIGHTFORWARD, NORMAL
CHILDHOOD.
I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS REALLY
LITTLE, THE FIRST PAINTING I SAW
WAS IN MY SCHOOL, AND IT WAS A
BOTERO OF FAT CHILDREN, AND IT
MADE ME CRY, AND I THOUGHT IT
WAS REALLY A HIDEOUS THING, AND
IT SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME.

The painting of a fat mother with her two fat children appears with the caption "The Family. 1966, Fernando Botero."

Ellen says I JUST DON'T THINK-- I DON'T
LIKE THE WORK, AND I THINK IT
TERRIFIED ME AS A CHILD AND
STILL DOES, I DON'T KNOW.
AND THEN THERE ARE SOME WORKS
THAT I SAW REALLY EARLY ON THAT
REALLY STUCK WITH ME.
LIKE, MY MOM HAD, YOU KNOW,
THESE KIND OF POSTERS AROUND THE
HOUSE, OF ART.
THERE WAS ABSTRACT POSTER SHE
HAD, AND I NEVER NOTICED UNTIL...
I THINK I WAS A TEENAGER AND
MOVING OUT OF THE HOUSE, THAT
WOVEN INTO IT, IT SAID, "BLACK
IS BEAUTIFUL," AND I-I LOVED
THAT-- TO DISCOVER THAT.
AND THEN I HAD A REALLY AMAZING
LITERATURE TEACHER, BLOSSOM
KIRSCHENBAUM, WHO WAS JUST THE
MOST WILD TEACHER.
I MEAN, YOU KNOW, SHE HAD ME
READING, LIKE, BERNARD MALAMUD,
AT, YOU KNOW, AGE 14, AND, YOU
KNOW, AND SINCLAIR LEWIS AND
TONI MORRISON, YOU KNOW, AND
REALLY CREATING THIS PORTRAIT OF
AMERICA THROUGH WHAT WE READ.
AND BLOSSOM WAS REALLY A-- MRS.
KIRSCHENBAUM, ACTUALLY-- I'M
SAYING BLOSSOM NOW, BUT-- 'CAUSE
I'M OLDER, BUT SHE WAS-- YOU
KNOW, SHE IS AN INCREDIBLE,
VISUAL PERSON WHO MADE YOU SEE
THINGS, AND NOT JUST READ THINGS
AND COMPREHEND THEM, BUT THAT
THEY WERE ACTUALLY VISIONS THAT
HAD MEANING.

(music plays)

The narrator says AFTER GRADUATING FROM HIGH
SCHOOL, ELLEN DECIDED TO LEAVE
RHODE ISLAND AND TRAVEL TO
BOSTON TO ATTEND ART COLLEGE.

Ellen says AND EVEN THEN, I WASN'T SURE
THAT I WOULD BE AN ARTIST.
I THINK I DIDN'T REALLY DECIDE
THAT I WOULD TRY TO BE AN ARTIST
UNTIL I WENT TO A SUMMER PROGRAM
IN MAINE CALLED SKOWHEGAN, AND
THAT'S WHEN I-- I'M THINK-- I
DECIDED THAT I WOULD JUST TRY.

A canvas covered in lips and googly eyes appears with the caption "Oh! Susanna, 1993."

The narrator says LITTLE DID ELLEN KNOW THAT
OH! SUSANNA,
HER FINAL PAINTING
AT ART SCHOOL, AND THE SERIES
OF WORK SHE CONTINUED IN
SKOWHEGAN WOULD RAPIDLY MAKE
HER NAME IN THE CUTTHROAT WORLD
OF THE NEW YORK ART SCENE.

Zoe says THAT WHOLE
OH! SUSANNA
SERIES
IN THE-- IN THE MID-90S, I THINK
REALLY GRABBED EVERYONE'S
ATTENTION IN A VERY-- IN A VERY
UNDENIABLE WAY.

The narrator says ELLEN'S PIECE,
OH! SUSANNA
TAKES ITS NAME FROM THIS
ENDURINGLY POPULAR 19TH CENTURY
MINSTREL SONG.
THE LIPS AND EYES IN THIS WORK
MIMIC THE MAKEUP USED BY
SINGERS, COMEDIANS AND DANCERS
TO REPRESENT BLACK CHARACTERS
ON STAGE.

Ellen says IT'S BASICALLY JUST THIS
TOP-TO-BOTTOM, LEFT-TO-RIGHT
PENMANSHIP PAPER GRID, AND THE
LIPS ARE GENERALLY-- IT'S LIKE
SKIN, MY SKIN TONE, BROWNISH,
AND THEN INTO THAT, I STARTED
THIS MAP OF MY IDEA OF WHAT...
WHAT WAS A BLONDE LADY.
SO, THE LADIES SEEMED TO BE
ACTIVATING THIS MINSTREL SHOW.

Zoe says THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT
COMING ACROSS THOSE KIND OF
BRAILLE-LIKE DETAILS OF THE
EYES AND THE LIPS, DISEMBODIED,
AND THEN ONCE YOU'RE ABLE TO
FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY
REFERENCING, THAT THEY'RE ABLE
TO DISEMBODY SUCH A PAINFUL PART
OF AMERICAN HISTORY, A PAINFUL
PART OF MY HISTORY AND THE
ARTIST'S HISTORY, ALL OF OUR
HISTORIES, AND DO IT IN A WAY
THAT MANAGED TO BE PLAYFUL AND
FUNNY AND SUBVERSIVE, AND I'D
NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT.

The narrator says BY NOW, BASED IN NEW YORK,
ELLEN WOULD CONTINUE TO USE
HUMOUR AND SATIRE TO EXPLORE
THE COMPLEXITIES OF
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, SUCH
AS HER PIECE,
DELUXE.

An old ad shows a series of black ladies in blond wigs.

A series of framed ads on a wall appear with the caption "Deluxe. 2004-2005."

Caro says I THINK SHE'S BEST-KNOWN FOR
HER VERY LARGE-SCALE, GRID-LIKE
COMPOSITIONS DRAWN FROM
ADVERTISING IN AMERICAN
MAGAZINES IN EBONY AND SEPIA,
DRAWN FROM THE LATE '30S THROUGH
TO THE 1960S, AND THESE ADVERTS
FOR WIGS, HAIR-LIGHTENING
PRODUCTS SO PREDOMINANTLY AIMED
AT WOMEN, BUT MEN AS WELL, SHE
THEN MANIPULATES AND ABSTRACTS
WITH A WHOLE RANGE OF MATERIAL
FROM PLASTICINE, GLITTER,
COCONUT OIL, AND REALLY
PLAYFULLY MAKES US THINK ABOUT
ISSUES AS DIVERSE AS RACE AND
GENDER AND CONSUMERISM AND
SOCIETY.

Zoe says AND WHEN THEY FIRST CAME OUT,
THEY LOOKED SO FRESH, AND THEY
WERE SO DIFFERENT, AND THAT'S
JUST AS TRUE NOW.
SO I THINK, EFFECTIVELY, SHE'S
BEEN ABLE TO PLAY VERY WELL WITH
THE LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISEMENT,
BUT TO FEED US BACK SOMETHING
NEW, SO WE'RE NOT GETTING BACK
THE SAME THING IN A WAY THAT'S
LIKE POP ART, SAY.
THE COMMENTARY COMES IN A MUCH
MORE NUANCED FASHION.

The caption changes to "Sarfraz Manzoor. Cultural Commentator."
Sarfraz is in his mid-forties, with short curly graying hair and a stubble. He wears a blue shirt and a blue blazer.

He says FOR EXAMPLE, THE BLACK FACES
BECOME WHITE, AND-- AND SHE USES
THINGS LIKE PLASTICINE AS WELL,
TO CREATE A SORT OF ABSURDNESS
TO SOMETHING THAT WAS ACTUALLY
QUITE A DARK CHAPTER IN AMERICAN
HISTORY.

Ellen says I DON'T WANT TO MAKE A
PICTURE OF SOMETHING THAT YOU
ALREADY THINK YOU KNOW.
I DON'T WANT TO SORT OF-- I'M
NOT MAKING A CRITIQUE IN THIS
SENSE.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY NOT THAT.
I WANT TO MAKE A PICTURE OF
SOMETHING I FEEL LIKE WE ARE,
TOGETHER, MAKING LANGUAGE FOR,
AS WE SPEAK.

The narrator says ALTHOUGH ELLEN HAD QUICKLY
BECOME AN IMPORTANT VOICE IN
AMERICAN ART, IT WAS HER
DECISION TO MOVE HALFWAY ACROSS
THE WORLD THAT WOULD PUSH HER
HER AND HER WORK IN NEW AND
EXCITING WAYS.
ELLEN GALLAGHER IS ONE OF THE
MOST ACCLAIMED ARTISTS TO HAVE
EMERGED FROM THE AMERICAN ART
SCENE IN THE '90S.
HER INTRICATE WORKS COMBINE
TECHNICAL SKILL WITH WIT AND
RAZOR-SHARP SOCIAL COMMENTARY.
IN 2001, ELLEN DECIDED TO
ESCAPE THE ART WORLD CAPITAL OF
NEW YORK AND SET UP STUDIO IN
EUROPE.
ELLEN'S STUDIO IS IN AN OLD TIN
FACTORY IN THE DUTCH CITY OF
ROTTERDAM; EUROPE'S LARGEST
PORT.

Ellen says I NEEDED A CITY THAT
WAS REALLY STILL A CITY.
IT'S ALSO, FOR ME, IT'S IN...
IN-- IT'S THE BROWNEST CITY I'VE
BEEN IN IN EUROPE, IN TERMS OF,
LIKE, THE CULTURAL MIX OF
PEOPLE.
AND THAT'S IMPORTANT.
I THINK ALSO JUST BEING DIRECTLY
ON THE PORT IN THIS REALLY
MATTER-OF-FACT WAY, THAT IT'S A
WORKING PORT.
IT'S NOT, AT ALL, THIS KIND OF
AMERICAN SPACE, AND THAT-- THAT,
IN A SENSE, MY WORK HERE ISN'T...
UM...IT'S NOT DEFINED AS SUCH.
AND SO, I FEEL LIKE THERE'S...
THERE'S A LOT OF POTENTIAL HERE
FOR THE WORK TO GROW.

The narrator says BUT IT WASN'T JUST A CHANGE
OF SCENE THAT PROMPTED ELLEN'S
MOVE.
SHE CAME TO ROTTERDAM TO LIVE
WITH DUTCH ARTIST EDGAR
CLEIJNE.
AND IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE THEIR
PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP ALSO
TURNED PROFESSIONAL.

Ellen says HIS PRACTICE COMES
FROM A MORE DOCUMENTARY
PRACTICE, AND HE'S ALSO A
MUSICIAN, SO MUSICIANS ARE
ALWAYS IN THE WORLD, AND I AM A
LITTLE BIT, UM, SEPARATE IN SOME
WAYS.
MY TEMPERAMENT KEEPS ME THAT
WAY, SO THIS IS SORT OF A
BALANCE.

The narrator says EDGAR HAS A BACKGROUND IN
FILM, VIDEO AND ANIMATION.
WORKING TOGETHER, THEIR FIRST
VIDEO WORK WAS
MURMUR.

A clip shows a movie projected on a wall with the caption "Murmur. 2003-2004."

Ellen says I THINK I HAD TO PULL YOU
INTO
MURMUR,
AT FIRST.
YOU WEREN'T INTERESTED IN THE
BEGINNING.
I ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK WITH
EDGAR.
I MEAN, I MET EDGAR-- SEE, I
SAW HIS WORK IN KOREA, AND SO, I
THINK I ALWAYS REALLY RESPONDED
TO IT AND THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY
LUCID AND IN THE WORLD, BUT I
DON'T KNOW THAT YOU REALLY
WANTED TO WORK ON FILMS WITH ME.
(CHUCKLING)

The caption changes to "Edgar Cleijine."

Edgar is in his fifties, with long straight blond hair and a beard and wears a black shirt.

He says IT IS FAIRLY EASY TO
ACTUALLY HAVE THE IDEAS.
IT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO
ACTUALLY MAKE-- MAKE THE FILMS
AND ACTUALLY MAKE THEM HAPPEN.
THAT-- THAT IS A BIT-- THE
PROBLEM WITH ANIMATION, 'CAUSE
THEY TAKE SO MUCH WORK AND SUCH
A LONG TIME THAT SOME OF US LOSE
INTEREST.
(CHUCKLING)

The narrator says THE COUPLE ARE CURRENTLY
WORKING ON IDEAS FOR A NEW
PIECE, WHICH WILL EXPLORE WHAT
THEY SEE AS MAN'S CONTINUED
DISREGARD FOR NATURE AND THE
ENVIRONMENT.

Edgar says THE IDEA FOR THE FILM,
EVENTUALLY, IS...
THAT SOMEWHERE IN A PARALLEL
UNIVERSE OR A FUTURE, WE HAVE
DECIDED AS A HUMAN SPECIES TO...
THAT WE CANNOT LIVE TOGETHER
WITH NATURE, AND SO WE MAKE A
RADICAL SPLIT AND NATURE IS
TRANSPORTED TO A SUBTERRANEAN
WORLD, AND MAN LIVES ON THE
OUTER SHELL.

The narrator says ALTHOUGH THE COLLABORATIONS
WITH EDGAR CAME LATER IN HER
WORK, ELLEN HAS ALWAYS SOUGHT
INSPIRATION FROM OTHERS.

Zoe says IT'S THAT KIND OF
SURPRISINGLY COLLABORATIVE
NATURE IN HER PERSONALITY, OF
NOT ONLY WANTING TO-- TO WORK
WITH OTHERS, BUT TO FIND OUT
WHERE OTHERS ARE COMING FROM,
THAT I THINK THEN ENDS UP
FINDING ITS WAY INTO THE WORK
IN A LOT OF WAYS.

The narrator says WORKING WITH OTHER ARTISTS
OR ON HER OWN, ELLEN KEEPS
RETURNING TO HER GREATEST
INSPIRATION: BOOKS.

Ellen says I LOVE TO READ.
IT AFFECTS ME PHYSICALLY, AND IT
MAKES ME SEE OTHER
POSSIBILITIES.
I MEAN, I GUESS THAT SOUNDS
CORNY, BUT IT'S JUST REALLY
TRUE.

The narrator says IT WAS ONE BOOK IN PARTICULAR
THAT WOULD HELP ELLEN REALIZE
ONE OF HER BEST-KNOWN WORKS.

Ellen says IN 2009, PHILIP HOARE'S BOOK,
LEVIATHAN
HAD JUST COME OUT,
AND, YOU KNOW, I COMPLETE-- I
WENT THROUGH IT.
I MEAN, I DEVOURED IT, AND IT
GAVE ME A LOT OF COURAGE FOR
OSEDAX.

A caption reads "OSedax. 2010."

Ellen says IT LED ME TO, YOU KNOW, CONTINUE
LOOKING INTO THIS IDEA OF WHALE
FALL, WHICH IS WHAT IT'S BASED
ON.

A painting showing an octopus-like creature appears.

Ellen says I MADE THIS PIECE THAT WAS ABOUT
THE OSEDAX WORM, WHICH IS WHERE
IT GETS ITS TITLE FROM, AND THIS
WORMS THAT BORES INTO WHALE
CARCASSES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE
OCEAN.
THIS SORT OF CYCLE OF THE KIND
OF WHALE FALL.
THIS IDEA OF WHALES CONSTANTLY
FALLING THROUGH THE OCEAN AND
BECOMING A KIND OF ECOSYSTEM,
AND THEN CONTINUING, AND THEN
THAT-- THOSE WORMS SORT OF
BECOMING BECOMING LIKE
DANDELIONS AND SPREADING OUT,
AND START-- AND LOOKING AGAIN
FOR MORE WHALE FALL.

Zoe says I THINK THERE'S VERY MUCH A
SENSE OF HOW FILM IS ABLE TO
TELL A PARTICULAR STORY THAT
PERHAPS COULDN'T BE TOLD IN ANY
OTHER WAY.

The narrator says WHILST ELLEN AND EDGAR
CONTINUE TO MAKE INSTALLATIONS,
IT IS HER MOST RECENT PAINTINGS
THAT ARE CONSIDERED TO BE SOME
OF HER FINEST WORK.

A blue art piece with a set of slanted eyes that resemble a tree trunk appears with the caption "Doctor Blowfin's Black Storm. 2013-2014."

Anthony says EVERYTHING SHE'S
DONE BEFORE MAKE SENSE, SEEING
THESE NEW PICTURES, BUT THE NEW
PICTURES IN IT WERE BEYOND
ANYTHING SHE'D DONE BEFORE.
SHE GETS STRONGER AND STRONGER,
AND I THINK MORE AND MORE PEOPLE
REALIZE JUST HOW IMPORTANT SHE
IS.

The narrator says THESE LATEST WORKS COMBINE,
IN VIRTUOSIC SKILL WITH
REFERENCES DRAWN FROM HISTORY,
LITERATURE AND GEOGRAPHY, WERE
MADE FOR THE GRANDEST STAGE OF
ALL: THE VENICE BIENNALE.

(music plays)

The narrator says THIS IS THE VENICE BIENNALE;
ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS
EVENTS IN THE INTERNATIONAL ART
CALENDAR.
AND ELLEN GALLAGHER HAS BEEN
INVITED TO EXHIBIT A SERIES OF
NEW WORKS, EACH OF WHICH
INCORPORATE PAINTING, DRAWINGS
AND COLLAGE.

A pastel blue, beige and gray composition appears with the caption "Dew Breaker. 2015."

Ellen says I REALLY THINK THAT THEMES
IN THE WORK TRAVEL IN AND OUT OF
PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS, AND I
THINK, A LOT OF TIMES, PEOPLE
CATEGORIZE THINGS BY...
YOU KNOW, THEY WANT TO
CATEGORIZE THINGS AS DRAWING OR
PAINTING OR FILM, YOU KNOW, AND
FOR ME, IT'S ALL ONE THING.

The narrator says AS WELL AS USING AN ARRAY OF
DIFFERENT MEDIA, ELLEN HAS
DRAWN INSPIRATION FROM A WIDE
RANGE OF SUBJECTS.
FROM LITERATURE TO THE PHYSICAL
BEAUTY OF THE ISLANDS THAT
MAKE UP THE CARIBBEAN.

Ellen says FOR ME, THE INTERESTING THING
ABOUT THE ARCHIPELAGO, OR THE
IDEA OF THE ARCHIPELAGO, IS THAT
IT'S THIS FLIP THAT HAPPENS
CONSCIOUSLY, WHERE IT'S-- IT'S
IN THIS ONE SENSE, IT'S A
DESCRIPTION, ORIGINALLY, OF THE
SEA, A BROKEN UP SEA, OR THE
FIRST SEA.
AND ON THE OTHER HAND, IT'S...
I'VE ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD IT AS A
PARTICULAR SET OF ISLANDS OR
NATIONS TOGETHER, SO IT COULD BE
CABO VERDE, OR IT COULD BE, YOU
KNOW, HAWAII, OR IT COULD BE,
YOU KNOW, THE CARIBBEAN.
BUT THE IDEA OF IT BEING BOTH A
KIND OF VISIBLE SPACE AND IT...
AND A LESS VISIBLE OR LESS
READABLE SPACE, IT'S INTERESTING
TO ME THAT THEY EXIST TOGETHER.

The narrator says BUT IT'S NOT JUST ISLANDS
THAT INSPIRED ELLEN.
IT'S ALSO THE OCEAN ITSELF.

Ellen says GOING UNDERWATER, FOR ME, IS
REALLY INSPIRATIONAL.
I MEAN, IT'S-- IT'S MORE
EXCITING TO ME THAN IDEAS OF
SPACE TRAVEL.
I GUESS BECAUSE IT'S MORE
TANGIBLE.
THIS IDEA THAT IT APPEARS TO BE
THE SURFACE THAT YOU SEE, BUT IN
FACT, IT'S LIKE ALL THESE
ACTIONS THAT MIGHT JUST GIVE
THIS PARTICULAR COLOUR GREY
TODAY.
YOU KNOW, BUT THEY'RE ARE, LIKE,
A MILLION THINGS COMING TOGETHER
THAT MAKE THAT HAPPEN, AND I-I
FIND THAT REALLY A BEAUTIFUL AND
THAT'S-- THAT'S TRUE TODAY, BUT
IT MIGHT NOT BE TRUE TOMORROW.

The narrator says ELLEN'S FASCINATION WITH THE
CARIBBEAN IN PARTICULAR BEGAN
DURING A FORMATIVE JOURNEY SHE
TOOK TO THE ISLAND OF
MARTINIQUE, AGE JUST 20.

Ellen says SAILING, YOU KNOW, FROM NEW
ENGLAND TO THE CARIBBEAN, YOU...
YOU ACTUALLY-- YOU SORT OF SENSE
THIS PASSAGE OF TIME THAT'S NOT
SO GREAT, AND IT'S-- IT'S
IMMENSE IN A SENSE, YOU'VE
ENDED UP SOME PLACE, AND ALL OF
THE SUDDEN, EVERYBODY AT THE
DOCKS WAS BROWN-SKINNED.
SOME VARIATION OF BROWN, AND I
COULDN'T-- I'D NEVER SEEN, LIKE,
YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE I-I LANDED
ON A NEW PLANET.
I'D NEVER SEEN A BROWN PLANET
BEFORE.
I'D NEVER SEEN A BLACK NATION
BEFORE, COMING FROM RHODE
ISLAND, AND-- AND AT THE SAME
TIME, SO IT WAS LIKE I'D
ENTERED-- YOU KNOW, WAS MY
FIRST EXPERIENCE OF AFRICA IN A
SENSE, I THINK.
IT'S EXCITING TO-- TO FEEL
CONNECTED TO PLACES, AND THAT
YOU'RE ACTUALLY-- CAN PULL
SOMETIMES-- CAN PULL IT INTO THE
WORK.

The narrator says ELLEN'S FINAL INSPIRATION
FOR THE SERIES CAME IN THE FORM
OF POEMS BY MARTINICAN WRITER,
AIMÉ CÉSAIRE, ABOUT THE
CARIBBEAN ARCHIPELAGO.

A picture of Aimé, a black man with curly white hair, appears.

Ellen says HE WRITES POEMS THAT DEAL
WITH THIS IDEA OF A KIND OF
INTERLOCKED MEMBRANE THAT EXISTS
THROUGHOUT THE CARIBBEAN NATION,
AND THAT THERE'S A KIND OF, YOU
KNOW, AS IF IT COULD BE A
NATION.

The narrator says CÉSAIRE IMAGINES THE ISLANDS
OF THE CARIBBEAN FOREVER BOUND
TOGETHER BY THE SHARED MEMORY
OF THE HORRORS OF SLAVERY.

A collage representing an archipelago appears.

Ellen says AND SO, HE CREATES A
KIND OF LIFE FORCE, BUT IT'S A
LIFE FORCE THAT'S FORGED IN THIS
CRUCIBLE OF PAIN.
SO I CAME UP WITH THIS-- THIS
IDEA OF A KIND OF VERTEBRAE,
SOMETHING THAT'S BOTH SEPARATE
AND HINGED TOGETHER.
I MEAN, AND I LIKE THAT FLIP
BETWEEN NEGATIVE, POSITIVE, LIKE
THE ARCHIPELAGO AS A GROUP OF
ISLANDS, BUT ALSO AS A
DISTURBANCE WITHIN THE SEA.

The narrator says ELLEN'S ABILITY TO WEAVE SO
MANY IDEAS INTO HER WORK IS WHY
MANY FEEL SHE'S ONE OF THE MOST
EXCITING ARTIST WORKING TODAY.

Caro says SHE DRAWS INCREDIBLY WIDELY
IN TERMS OF HER REFERENCES, SO
POPULAR CULTURE FROM ADVERTISING
IN THE MEDIA, FROM AMERICAN
HISTORIC POPULAR CULTURE, SO
MINSTREL, PARTICULARLY, BUT ALSO
LITERATURE FROM MELVILLE TO
GERTRUDE STEIN, AND AGAIN,
REFERENCING ART AND MUSIC, AND I
THINK THERE ARE HOOKS FOR SO
MANY PEOPLE TO ENTER HER WORK,
TO APPROACH HER WORK, BECAUSE IF
A REFERENCE-- ONE REFERENCE
ESCAPES YOU, ANOTHER WILL CHIME.

Zoe says AS A MUSEUM CURATOR, I THINK
OUR ROLES ARE CONSTANTLY TO
THINK ABOUT HOW WE LOOK AFTER
COLLECTIONS FOR FUTURE
GENERATIONS AND-- AND BUILD ON
THOSE, AND I ABSOLUTELY SEE
ELLEN GALLAGHER AS ONE OF THE
ARTISTS WHOSE WORK WILL STAND
THE TEST OF TIME, AND I THINK
THE BODY OF WORK THAT SHE'S
CREATED IS SO SUBSTANTIAL SINCE
THE 1990S TO THE PRESENT, THAT
WHAT WE'RE ABLE TO SEE IS NOT
ONLY A VERY PARTICULAR AND
SINGULAR EVOLUTION OF ONE
ARTIST'S PRACTICE, BUT THE WAY
IN WHICH SHE'S TAKEN ON MANY
OTHER REFERENCES, THE WAY SHE'S
COLLABORATED WITH OTHERS.
AND WE'RE ABLE TO GLIMPSE, IN
HER WORK, I THINK, REALLY, THE
EVOLUTION OF THE NATURE OF
CONTEMPORARY ART.

Sarfraz says I THINK IT'S FASCINATING HOW
SHE USES HER BACKGROUND AS AN
INSPIRATION FOR HER ART.
AND I ALSO FIND IT REALLY
INTERESTING THAT BECAUSE THERE
ISN'T SO MUCH OF A HISTORY OR
AN ARCHIVE OF BLACK HISTORY IN
THIS PARTICULAR GENRE, SHE
CREATES A NEW BLACK ARCHIVE.

The narrator says ONE OF AMERICA'S LEADING
ARTISTS FOR OVER 25 YEARS,
ELLEN IS SURPRISED AT JUST HOW
FAR SHE'S COME.

Ellen says I CERTAINLY DIDN'T THINK I'D
BE TALKING TO YOU BY-- IN A PORT
IN ROTTERDAM.
I MEAN, I THINK I IMAGINED, YOU
KNOW, I WOULD HAVE LIKED A SORT
OF CLEAN STUDIO LIKE I HAD IN
BOSTON, AND I SORT OF WONDER
WHERE THAT ALL WENT.
AND I SORT OF REALIZE THAT NO
MATTER WHAT I DID, I WOULD BE
SITTING PRETTY MUCH ALONE IN A
ROOM, DRAWING, FOR THE REST OF
MY LIFE.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Cornell John.

Edited and produced by Holly Lubbock.

Executive producer, Edward Morgan.

A Northern Town production.

Copyright 2015, Bloomberg LP.

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