Sam Smith: The Horizontal Window

Image Credit: Image: Sam Smith, The Horizontal Window (2016), video still. Courtesy the artist and 3+1 Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal.

Plymouth Arts Centre


Tuesday 23 January 2018 – Thursday 01 February 2018
1 – 5pm (except when the cinema is in use for matinees, please phone ahead to check). Duration 17:11 minutes looped, Free.
Opening Hours: 1pm - 8.30pm

In the early 20th century, the architect Le Corbusier conceived of what would become Villa Le Lac. He imagined a structure without a site in mind, a conceptual apparatus for capturing light and opening views on the landscape, a ‘camera house’. The finished villa is a dialogue between two apertures: a long 11-meter ribbon window facing Lake Geneva, creating views like a celluloid filmstrip; and a smaller unglazed frame that is cut into an exterior garden wall. Mirroring this, The Horizontal Window is shot in two different cinematic ratios: 1.33:1, the original 35mm silent film ratio; and 2.35:1, the 35mm anamorphic ratio used by CinemaScope and early Panavision prior to 1970.

Smith’s video uses the villa as a case study to highlight the materiality of glass as an active element in the production of both moving images and architectural vistas – a powerful agent able to transmit, reflect and refract light.

The Horizontal Window was originally commissioned by the Gallery for Contemporary Art, E-WERK Freiburg; Glasgow International 2016; and The Telfer Gallery, Glasgow.

Sam Smith is a video, installation and performance artist currently based in the UK. Previous exhibition and performance projects include Whitechapel Gallery, London; Glasgow International 2016; Australian Centre for Moving Image, Melbourne; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra; Gallery of Contemporary Art E-WERK, Freiburg; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Supported By Villa Le Lac, Le Corbusier.


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Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

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