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Indepth Arts News:

"Alia Syed: Film Works"
2003-01-11 until 2003-02-13
Talwar Gallery
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Talwar Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of film works by Alia Syed. This is the artistís first solo exhibition in the United States. On exhibit will be her most recent work Spoken Diary and an earlier work, Swan. Spoken Diary, a 14-minute visual poem, intertwines the inner angst of a woman traversing hesitation, loss and denial with that of her journey through dark, wet and desolate streets of London.

Interspersed are layers of words emanating from the fleeting movement of the pen on the diary pages while simultaneously being spoken in the third person, distancing the protagonist from the self. The vastly textural visual collage of fragments of consciousness and surroundings is punctuated with a haunting yet rhythmic score erupting as an anxious heartbeat. Traveling through darkness are occasional lyrical lights, sounds, playful antics and newborn life, drawing to the cyclical nature of life and of the filmís construction.

Swan, a sensual insinuation created in 1989 is an early introduction to Ms. Syedís celluloid textural indulgence and her innovative treatment and command of the medium. Constructed with cyclical close up views of a white swan preparing for flight, flexing and caressing, extending and folding its wings repeatedly as if bracing for a long journey. The contours of its body covered with softness of down bathed in light, play gracefully with the shadows and dark crevices of emptiness. While being seduced by the softness of its skin and gentle movements of the body one becomes aware of the uncomfortable closeness to this creature and its latent power and are reminded of Yeatsí Leda and the Swan ďgreat wings beating still above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed by dark webs, her nape caught in his billĒ

Alia Syedís work exploring issues of identity and representation often employ rhythmic and cyclical elements, in which characters, places, text, images and sound return to coincide and at times oppose conventional narrative structures. The artistís interest in time and memory, in story telling where the personal reality is woven with the film narratives creates a space for dialogue with and for our Self. Her experimental and creative exploitation of the film process lends her work the evocative and tactile power as of a painterís on a canvas.

Alia Syed was born in Swansea, Wales (UK) of Indian and Welsh decent. She completed her Bachelors in Fine Arts from University of East London in 1987 and Postgraduate work in Mixed Media from Slade School in 1992. While pursuing experimental film making over the last decade and a half Syed had also taught and lectured at Central St.Martins (1992,93,97 and 2001), University of East London (1992,94-99), Glasgow School of Art (1994) and Chelsea School of Art (1996-2000). Since exhibiting her film work at Hochschule fur kunst in Hamburg, Germany in 1988, Syedís work has been screened at film festivals and Museums extensively including London Film Festival in 1989, 91 and 2001; Center for contemporary art, Warsaw, Poland in 1990; Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London in Arrows of desire in 1991, in Pandemonium in 1996 and Views of London in 1997; 25 years of British avant garde at Tate Gallery, London in 1991; Beyond Destination at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK in 1994; Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand in 1996; Corto Circuito, Naples, Italy in 1997; Performing Bodies at Tate Modern, London, UK in 2000

In 2002 a major retrospective, Jigar, showcasing selected film works of Alia Syed was organized by inIVA, London, UK and it traveled to Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (GOMA), Glasgow, Scotland; The New Art Gallery in Walsall, UK and Turnpike gallery, Manchester, UK.

Alia Syed lives and works in London, England.

Still from††SPOKEN DIARY
14 Minutes 40 seconds
DVD transfer from 16mm††

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