Special guest Jose Mari Zabala in Expanding the Frame

We have invited a special guest to present his work in our studio during Expanding the Frame: Jose Mari Zabala, a Basque artist and veteran of experimental filmmaking whose practice spans more than fifty years.

One of the works that we will be showing is “Axut”, shot on 35mm film in 1975. A daring narrative project that defies classification, this film follows a carnivalesque troupe in its endeavours on a mountain top. The images are underscored by a disjointed, but playfully experimental soundtrack. Of special note is the moody omnipresence of the Basque landscape in the film: rolling slopes, lonely farmhouses, and coastal waves lapping at an empty beach.

The second work also places a special focus on an element of Zabala’s own habitat. In “The Magnolia of Mendibil Park” a more recent video from 2016, the artist records the full seasonal cycle of a Magnolia tree which has existed in his neighbourhood since his earliest recollections. In this meditative, introspective video, we are only reminded of the contemporary urban surrounding of the ancient tree by the condensation trails of global airline jets that cross the blue sky beyond the branches, and through the fleeting sounds of the environment: a train passes, children play, and an occasional note carries over from the musicians rehearsing at a school nearby.