From Sebastiane (1976) to Blue (1992), Derek Jarman’s films constantly interrogated time and art, and epitomised his own era. He was a painter, part of that moment that made sixties London a capital of the art world. He was a film-maker, perhaps the single most crucial figure of British independent cinema through the seventies, eighties and nineties. He lived as a gay man surfing the joys of Gay Liberation and the sorrows of Aids. He lived as a participant observer, noting with pen or camera all that passed before him - from punk to Thatcher, from Hampstead Heath to film premiere.
Now those images serve to place his art in his time, to produce a fascinating history that we can put to use. As well as the feature films and Super 8 films, which span three decades, there are the extensive video clips he recorded from the early seventies, for artists from the Smiths to the Pet Shop Boys, and from television to film festivals in Japan, Berlin and Cologne. There are also images of Derek, as he erupted into the viewfinder of the news media. This unique perspective provides a counterpoint, as his own images are juxtaposed with the images of the history that generated them.
76'5'', super 16 and 35mm, colour, 5.1 sound