Butchers, Dragons, Gods & Skeletons: Film Installations by Philip Haas

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The Booker Prize-winning novelist A. S. Byatt is no less spellbinding as a writer on art. In this richly illustrated book accompanying the Kimbell’s latest exhibition she discusses the series of five film installations created by the distinguished filmmaker Philip Haas in response to paintings at the Kimbell. Her essay “Moving Pictures” deals with Haas’s innovative works, their relationship to film, video, art, theater, puppetry, showmanship, and the history of an idea—that of the painting or sculpture that comes to life. Following the essay are portfolios for each installation containing a description by Malcolm Warner (deputy director at the Kimbell), along with images from the films and reproductions of the works of art of the past that were Haas’s inspiration.
First shown at the Kimbell in the summer of 2009, Haas’s films are poetic and sensuous rather than documentary––interpretations that stand as powerful works of art in themselves. On occasion the flow of imagery stops on an uncanny re-creation of the chosen original, as though the original were a still that magically preceded the film––now realized––to which it belonged. Looped to run continuously, the films are projected on screens of various unconventional formats and configurations. All are accompanied by original music, and three appear in elaborate architectural and sculptural sets, further immersing the viewer in the experience.