Beavers examines aesthetics of art, cinema

Can the aesthetic dimension ever liberate? What place does the aesthetic have in great cinema?

For experimental filmmaker Robert Beavers, the answer is clear:

“[Cinema] can be like listening to the music of a composer you don’t know, it doesn’t mean you have to understand,” he said in an interview with the News on Monday. “It goes even beyond the aesthetic … with great filmmakers, there is an experience in time that is unique and that can satisfy.”

This weekend at “My Hand Outstretched: Films by Robert Beavers,” students can see a sample of Beavers’s work followed by question and answer sessions with the director co-sponsored by the Yale Avant-Garde Film Colloquium, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Council on European Studies. On Thursday, the Whitney Humanities Center will screen his films “Early Monthly Segments,” “The Stoas” and “The Ground” at 7:00 p.m. and Friday, they will show “Ruskin” and “Pitcher of Light.”

Beavers is also giving a Master’s Tea in Saybrook College this Friday at 4:00 pm.

Richard Suchenski GRD ’11, who organized the event and is speaking next Tuesday at the YUAG on “the position of Beavers’s work within the larger history of the arts,” said he thought Beavers’s work was important because it integrated different sensory elements in a way that was “sensuous” and “expressive.”

He said in an e-mail Monday that Beavers’s oeuvre “seamlessly interweaves sonic and visual motifs, making unexpected associations that give a sense of a reflective mind at work.”

Beavers left the U.S. for Europe two years after he graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1965, and has been creating films there ever since. He said his most important influence was avant-garde filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos with whom he traveled to Greece. He described his early experiences with film-making as “the course of an apprentice and an autodidact.”

Seth McCormick, a Fellow in the Education Department of the YUAG, who helped organize the visit, said he thought Beavers’s work holds importance in the cinematic landscape of the 21st century.

“Beavers’s work is very relevant to a new generation of art students and art historians who question the traditional boundaries between the fine arts, film, and new media,” he wrote in an e-mail Monday.

As for his visit to Yale this week, Beavers said he is interested in the chances a University offers to screen work that is normally exhibited in art galleries and art cinema screenings.

In 1989, Yale held a screening of Beavers’s work. His works have recently been shown at the Whitney gallery in New York and the Tate Modern in London, England.

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