Painting Room Lights

  • USA
  • 1981
  • 09min
  • National premiere
David Haxton_Painting Room Lights (3).jpg

View Painting Room Lights for free at S1 Artspace or on our Online Exhibitions Platform.

David Haxton’s films investigate the medium of 16mm celluloid film, exploiting its mechanics in ways seldom explored by other artists. Through performative works that highlight the properties of light and darkness, motion and stasis, perception and illusion, Haxton creates unexpected and seemingly impossible worlds despite conveying simple scenarios and minimal editing.

Painting Room Lights shows a performer painting four fluorescent lamps and making a drawing of a landscape with a rectangular solid in the foreground. He also makes a drawing of a room in one point perspective. Perspective, space and light are shifted through simple means. For example, when the performer paints the lamps, the scene is effectively washed out with light. This is because the 16mm film recording the event is in negative, so darkening the room will brighten the image. Haxton distorts the image, and the viewer’s expectations, with conceptual shifts that work their magic seductively and intuitively. The film’s caricature of a domestic room was recorded inside of a domestic space itself: Haxton’s live-in studio was where he conducted these filmic experiments in perception. 

Our Partners