Friday, 2 May 2014

Contemporary Distractions

Another boon I recently discovered on the British Pathé News archive was this short feature on artist Sam Smith at his 1958 exhibition 'Contemporary Distractions' at the Primavera gallery in Sloane Street, London. Usually labelled 'toys for grown ups', his work developed from simple folk art toys to elaborate singular sculptures.

I should have liked to have found this film late last year when I organised an exhibition of Sam's work but it was completely unknown at the time. Very pleased to see it now and especially love the piece Reader/Drinker at 01.35. 

The proto-psychedelic mood of Sam's work seems evident in the clip and enhanced by the vivid film stock colours. The anarchic and surreal humour in Sam's work anticipated much of the British Pop Art and music explosion that was to follow. Ten years later it seems that Pathé were producing bona fide psych-pop videos or 'promotional films' as they were called then. Let's join The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band in London's Speakeasy club.

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