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Mark Titmarsh

Mark Titmarsh was born in 1955, Ingham, Queensland, Australia.

In addition to a PhD awarded by the University of Technology, Sydney in 2009 Titmarsh holds a number of graduate and undergraduate degrees including a BA in Law [Queensland University], a BA in Visual Arts [College of Fine Arts, University of NSW] and Master of Visual Arts Painting [Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney].

Since 1980 Titmarsh has worked extensively as an artist, filmmaker, visual artist, writer, lecturer and curator. He was a founding member of the Sydney Super 8 Collective [later the Sydney Super 8 Film Group] in 1983 and was instrumental in the organisation of the group’s annual festivals and publications. Titmarsh wrote extensively on the emerging 1980s Australian film scene for various magazines, journals and other publications, promoting and proselytising Super 8 filmmaking. In 1983 Titmarsh co-founded and edited On the Beach, a key journal in the emergence of critical theory in Australia. Titmarsh also curated and toured programs of Australian Super 8 filmmaking to Europe and the United States during the 1980s.

Titmarsh’s work across all his chosen mediums, from film and painting, to sculpture and performance, has been concerned at some level with the potential of those mediums to be expanded and hybridised into new conceptual configurations. Early work in Super 8 such as Forbidden Planet [1981], City of Women [1982] and Night of the Living Dead [1983] involved re-enactments of portions of the plots  of the films from which their titles had been lifted. Titmarsh’s emphasis in these films was to recontextualise purloined plot elements into loose, collage-like narratives that featured performances by non-actors [friends, colleagues, other filmmakers] and visual and audio elements taken directly from the mainstream art house and Hollywood films by means of refilming these elements from a television screen. Titmarsh experimented with this mixture of original and appropriated material throughout the following decade with such films such as Imitation of Life [1984], Shock Corridor [1985], Legion [1985], 35 Summers [1988] and the video work Viva [1989].

Titmarsh also experimented with films consisting entirely of appropriated material. This Is The Way That Jack Dies [1985] was made from scenes in films in which the actor Jack Palance “dies” - a taxonomic study of film performance and technique. In 1987 Titmarsh coined the term “Metaphysical TV” to describe the work of five filmmakers – Titmarsh, Andrew Frost, Michael Hutak, Gary Warner and Stephen Harrop – whose work investigated a relationship with the televisual image via film. Titmarsh curated a film program of ‘MTV’ films, wrote the group’s manifesto, and toured the program internationally in 1988-89.

Towards the end of the 1980s Titmarsh began to exhibit his paintings and sculptures in commercial and artist-run galleries and, from 1989 until 1998, concentrated solely on these studio practices. In 1998 Titmarsh returned to film with a series of short, looped Super 8 works such as Nietzsche Loop and Pyramid Loop, developing and extending interests in colour and composition arising from his painting practice. In the last decade Titmarsh has explored these ideas further with a series of video works including RNR [2004], and RXP [2005]. In 2007 Titmarsh exhibited five video works – Flowerpower, Wetpaint, Waterworld, I Am and Resonance [all 2005] under the collective title Deep Wallpaper at the Pompidou Centre, Paris. Titmarsh’s most recent screen works include (Silly) String Theory [2008] and Chromophiliac [2011].

 

Further Reading:

Mark Titmarsh - Perspecta 1989

Mark Titmarsh - Artist Statement Essay 1988

Mark Titmarsh - 35 summers Press release 1987

Date 
b. 1955
Birth place
Ingham, Queensland, Australia
Period of activity 
from 1980

Lives and works

London
United Kingdom
1 January 1979 - 1 January 1980
Related organisations
Selected works
Selected events
35 Summers (excerpt) - Mark Titmarsh, See also 'Selected Works', '35 summers' - http://scanlines.net/node/2752 – via Vimeo 
Mark Titmarsh - WHO, Mark Titmarsh discusses his biography – via Vimeo 
Mark Titmarsh - HOW, Mark Titmarsh discusses the making of the work '35 Summers' – via Vimeo 
Mark Titmarsh - WHY, Mark Titmarsh discusses the making of the work '35 Summers' – via Vimeo 
Mark Titmarsh - Aus art history, Mark Titmarsh gives his perspective on media art history – via Vimeo 
Mark Titmarsh, '35 Summers' 1988 – from 35 summers, via Vimeo 
From Imitation of life, via d'archive
From Imitation of life, via d'archive – from Imitation of life, via d/Archive 
From Shock Corridor, via d'archive
From Shock Corridor, via d'archive – from Shock Corridor, via d/Archive 
From Deep Wallpaper, via d'archive – from Deep Wallpaper, via d/Archive 
From This is The Way That Jack Dies, via d'archive
From This is The Way That Jack Dies, via d'archive – from This is The Way That Jack Dies, via d/Archive 
public fitting, – from public fitting, via Vimeo