Stephen Dwoskin: HA, HA!





This is the first exhibition of the original prints of the photomontages from Stephen Dwokin’s book “Ha, ha! La Solution Imaginaire” since its publication in 1992. The book itself comprises the images and poetic prose that explores the mind of a 75 year old man as he searches for the identity of a former lover and through that, his own identity. The work is multi layered, metaphorical and references Alfred Jarry and the Surrealists – a lifelong preoccupation of Dwoskin. In the 1990s the work was read through a particular understanding of the male gaze but didn’t account for the complexities of the Otherness of disability nor the multivalences of gender that this work explores.

Stephen Dwoskin (1939-2012) was a key figure as a film-maker winning many awards and having numerous retrospectives around the world in his lifetime. Dwoskin first received acclaim as a graphic designer winning awards for his magazine covers and book jackets in the US where he had been a designer for Industrial Design and Interiors magazines. He received a Fulbright scholarship in 1964 and remained in the UK for the rest of his life. In the UK he quickly made a lasting impact in part through co-founding the London Film Makers Co- Op (now The Lux) at Better Books; he also co founded the Independent Filmmakers’ Association in the 1970s (an organisation that paved the way for Channel 4) and was on the Board of the Lottery Film fund. As a film-maker Dwoskin inhabited a range of positions within the film world. As well as experimental film he also made feature films and had many national TV commissions in France and Germany (particularly Germany’s ZKF) as well as in the UK. His last film, Age Is… (2012) was posthumously premiered in the UK at the Tate Modern and worldwide at the Locarno Film Festival.

He advocated for artists and film-makers, campaigning against the closure of the Other Cinema and wrote the influential book “Film Is…” about the international Free Cinema. He was a much-respected teacher, lecturing at LCC and as Professor of Film at the Royal College of Art (with Peter Gidal). Above all Dwoskin was interested in communities of artists and kept in contact with many of his ex-students, making films with them and encouraging them on their own projects.

A two book project on Stephen Dwoskin published and produced by “Occasional Papers” and edited by Art at Reading’s Rachel Garfield with Antony Hudek will be forthcoming in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

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