Jaap PIETERS

(1955- )
Nationality: Dutch

Jaap Pieters, the “eye of Amsterdam,” began shooting films in Super8 in 1985. Much of his work concentrates on urban subjects – trams, crossroads, city dwellers and drifters – to which Pieters directs his voyeuristic gaze to capture their everyday existence. Many of his films consist of only one reel of film lasting three minutes and twenty seconds. Pieters’ choice to work with the limits and the specificity of Super8 film radically informs his aesthetics.

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Dutch artist/filmmaker Jaap Pieters has given us urban crossroads, city dwellers, isolated trees, window cleaners, gathering dust & shadow-plays and an occasional, impossibly-seen landscape of ghosts stumblingly moving through a piece of film, seemingly pulled out of time. It's an astonishing cinema with roots in a serene, dream-like, almost-savage accuracy―the pure and slightly apprehensive attention of a child on a strange street with twilight around every corner. Pieters is a stalwart devotee of Super 8mm film and over the course of four decades his rigorously conscious eye has produced dozens of small and brilliant openings into the seen and unseen world. They are films quite unlike any other in his (and it is wholly his), deceptively small-gauge (eye-size, really) Super 8 medium. Everyday existence for those who choose to see―an assertive voyeurism in an intimate dreamscape. The works create an intimacy devoid of any uncomfortable embarrassment, and require the viewer to look at and through and around the subjects so that nothing remains superficial, or obvious, and the moving figure of a woman washing her windows in the face of a bland apartment block assumes an oddly sculptural, almost magnetic focus. One sees human beings in moments of unattempted grace and unintended declarativeness of being, as well as the sheer, astonishing balance of power in the world's assembly. Working with film, minimal equipment and manipulation, he has confined himself to the four minute Super 8 reel and the implicit austerity of the choice widens their scope to the tactile apprehension of the deceptive spaces between stillness and movement. His photography, installations and live-performance collaborations explore the same (ana)thema, widening them across an interior screen of our cultural scrap-totems: The hoarded memories of evanescent printed matter, and reproduced music. For the last 22 years, his 'around the world tour' through galleries and festivals, established film institutes and urban squat-theaters, has become a phenomenon of dedication and purity of intent, that's quite unique and apart in the current emotional flash-cube we choose to call art. Jaap's current work in progress, which consists of four minute, silent takes of those old men he most respects―artists, painters, poets, carpenters, musicians, performers, former teachers & farmers alike―their presences―cannot fail to be one of the epochal works of our time, an invaluable piece of what humans mean, at our best.

As its wide-disuse has made the Super 8 cassette very expensive, and as Jaap's work is kept alive, sporadically, by contributions and occasional performance fees, the provision of a production grant from any of our larger and more simply aware film and/or cultural foundations would be most welcomed by Jaap, and the future. I don't see how we can do less―historically, culturally or morally.

Larry Kearney (poet, 1943 Brooklyn NYC), 01/01/2020

10 MOVIES IN DISTRIBUTION

OPWAAIINGEN
2009 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
WINDE'S GELUK - winde's bliss
2007 / 35mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
ZÜRCHER ZEGNERIN - ZÜRICH'S BLESSNESS
2000 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
PASSANTEN OP ZONDAG - PASSERS-BY ON A SUNDAY
1996 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
DE KOPJESDANS - THE CUPSDANCE
1994 / Super 8mm / color / sound / single screen / 2' 20 / 21 €
distribution: 35mm
SCHREEUWMAN - SCREAMMAN
1994 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
JIMMY'S BALLET
1993 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 00 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
DE BEREKLAUW - THE HOGWEED
1992 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
DE BLIKJESMAN - THE TINCANMAN
1991 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm
DE WINKELWAGENMAN - THE TROLLEYMAN
1991 / Super 8mm / color / silent / single screen / 3' 20 / 22 €
distribution: 35mm