Canadian artist Michael Snow, a towering figure in the world of avant-garde cinema, has died aged 94.
His death was confirmed by the Jack Shainman Gallery, which represents him. Michael Snow is considered one of Canada's most important artists and one of the most influential avant-garde artists of the 20th century. Best known for his 1967 film "Wavelength," a structuralist masterpiece often hailed as the most important avant-garde film ever made, Snow remained uncategorisable as an artist during a career that spanned eight decades. Painting, engraving, sculpture, photography, video, filming, installation and music were under his purview, and he created innovative works in these areas.
Michael Snow was born in 1928 in Toronto, studied first at Upper Canada College and then Toronto College of art. He spent twenty years working as a jazz pianist by night and painting by day. In 1961, he moved with his wife, the artist Joyce Wieland, to New York. Snow's creative horizons and professional circles quickly expanded in the metropolis, where he befriended experimental filmmaker Jonas Mekas and composer Steve Reich.
Michael Snow continued to push the boundaries of cinema, with 1969's "Back and Forth", filmed on a college campus in New Jersey, and then, after his 1970 move with Wieland back to Toronto, 1971's "La Région Centrale". , a three-hour paean to Canada's majestic mountain ranges. Both films drew attention to the mechanics of filmmaking, a concern that also informed 1982's language-focused So Is This, which comprises nothing more than a series of title cards, each with a single word. . Concurrent with film production, Snow continued to work with various techniques, as exemplified by the 1974 artist book "">Cover to Cover", which can be read front to back or backwards, and his album 1987 "The Last LP", which was intended to contain field recordings of dying ethnic music but actually comprised multitrack fragments composed and performed by Snow. Some of Michael Snow's most famous works include:
- The "Wavelength" film series (1967), which consists of a single 45-minute shot of an empty room in which the camera slowly zooms in on the window while a fire siren sounds in the background.
- "La Région Centrale" (1971), a three-hour film that shows a landscape of northern Canada while a camera mounted on a rotating platform captures 360-degree images.
- In the sculpture "The Audience" (1986), there is a line of people who appear to be watching a performance, but there is no stage or actor present. The sculpture is interpreted differently by different people, but is often seen as a reflection about the nature of art and the audience. In addition, the sculpture is also known for its beauty and elegance.
- The "Walking Woman" series of photographs (1961-1964), which consists of images of a woman walking through the streets of Toronto from many different angles and perspectives.
Considered by many to be Canada's most important artist, Michael Snow is represented at the National Gallery of Canada by seventy-five works; he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and promoted to a Fellowship in 2007 for his contributions to film. He had several retrospectives in Toronto and at the British Film Institute. His work was included in the reopening exhibitions at the Center Pompidou, Paris, in 2000, and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2005.