Available Space
Estate of Barbara Hammer
Apr29Jun32023

Film Schedule:

Wednesday's: May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24, May 31 - “Available Space” - TRT: 20:00 mins

Thursday's: May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 01 - “Optic Nerve” - TRT:16:43 mins

Friday's: May 5, May 12, May 19, May 26, June 02 - “A Horse Is Not A Metaphor” - TRT: 29:43 mins

Saturday's: May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27, June 03 - “Available Space- TRT: 20:00 mins

“I have thought about posterity all my life. There isn’t as much adventure and creative unfolding as there is in planting a garden and watching it grow. It’s like watching the film grow, because you don’t know what the seed of an idea is going to actually result in.” -– Barbara Hammer

To honor what would have been the artist’s 84th birthday this May, Company is pleased to present Barbara Hammer, Available Space, on view from April 29 - June 3, 2023. The exhibition is comprised of three films that span the 70s, 80s, and the early 2000s. The show takes its title from Hammer’s 1979 film of the same name. Characterized by the artist’s aim to liberate the medium from its confines, Available Space (1979) exemplifiesthe beginning broad strokes of experimentation that set Hammer on course to become one of the preeminent avant-garde filmmakers of her time.

Available Space (1979) represents Hammer’s early efforts aimed to empower, activate, and “make blood rush through the veins” of the viewing public. It synthesizes the artist’s most pronounced thematic interests: the camera in relation to the queer body, the body in performance, a performance in space, and her own capacity to unify or subvert these elements. This early film sees Hammer manipulating technical aspects of filmmaking. Manual adjustments to the speed of the frame and the layering of negatives articulate a body in flux. Made for performance, Hammer created this film to be shown on a 360 degree rotary projection table in the interest of testing the limitations of the projector’s beam and exploring the relationships between image and architectural space.

Optic Nerve (1985) is a deeply personal film on family and aging. The artist remains critically aware of her own mortality, leveraging the fragility of the 16mm film and the pollution of light to reflect how delicate the medium can be. Though Barbara’s hand is heavy with experimentation, in this film, she brings a tenderness to the rigidity of the celluloid as she shifts focus to the film’s central subject, her ailing grandmother.

A Horse is Not a Metaphor (2008) finds the artist confronting death through a rallying cry of human resilience. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, Hammer was unsure whether she would make another film at all. Instead, she returned to the medium as a testament to and celebration of her capacity to thrive despite the perceived limitations of her diagnosis. With much of the footage shot riding horseback across the United States, Barbara finds true freedom and hope riding her horse through the open landscape.

1/3 Installation Views

1/3

Selected Works

Estate of Barbara Hammer

Available Space,

1979

Estate of Barbara Hammer

Optic Nerve,

1985

Estate of Barbara Hammer

A Horse Is Not A Metaphor,

2008

Press

May 24 2023

Screen Slate

Available Space

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