The Films of Paul Winkler
Paul Winkler is a very important and talented Australian independent filmmaker. He was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1939 and in 1959 moved to Australia where he has subsequently earned his living as a bricklayer and restorer of houses.
Winkler has been making films since 1954 and has shown his work widely in Australia, Europe, Canada, and the United States, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, whose program notes we excerpt below for tonight's program:
Brickwall (1975, 22 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art)
Literally a “structural” film, and one of Winkler's most recent works, it is the logical film with which to begin this program: on one level it simply records the process of bricklaying...
On another level, however, Brickwall is a highly abstract work that transforms the structure of a brick wall into a virtual canvas.
Red Church (1976, 17 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art) opens with a lush, red-toned image of a church altar before a stained glass window, as seen from the perspective of the church aisle. On the soundtrack is an awesome roar. The rest of the film involves a complex transposition of that image through multiple exposures within the camera.
Backyard (1976, 15 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art) is a film whose central structural principle involves successive panning shots across Winkler's backyard, elaborated by subtle use of the matting technique.
Bark Rind (1977, 30 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art) creates a unique audio-visual cinematic experience. Presented over the course of the work are gyrating, close-up images of various aspects of the landscape. Accompanying them on the soundtrack is the shrill, piercing shriek of insect sounds, repeated over and over through loop printing. The effect achieved is one of extraordinary kinetic energy; the images themselves seem to pulse and vibrate as though they were the source of the resonating, buzzing sounds issuing from the aural track.
Sydney Harbour Bridge (1977, 13 mins, color, Print Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art) is a tour de force of in-camera matting technique. Winkler's conception of the film began with a panoramic view of Sydney Harbour Bridge popular in many tourist postcards. But the beauty of the film lies in his complex transpositions of that image. At points the screen is divided into myriad horizontal stripes, each containing pan shots of the bridge with movements in opposing directions. In another section of the film the screen is segmented into sixteen square images, each containing pans of the bridge's metal structure. The sense of movement created in the composite shot is of the bridge in dance-like animation, of its constituting a giant, fluid “slinky” toy.