Artist Profile

Luke Fowler
Luke Fowler BASED IN Glasgow ARTFORM Film Essay


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“YOU ASKED ME if the abstract was obfuscating reality and I said no because the abstract is as valid as the mundane.” Both are extremely valid in the filmic world of Luke Fowler. The quote comes from musician Xentos “Fray Bentos” Jones, the central but consistently absent subject of Luke Fowler’s 2003 film The Way Out. His statement says a lot about the form and content of much of Fowler’s work, which combines archival and new material in ways that are visually evocative of avant-garde, structuralist and art films, to convey something of the personal, creative and political dynamics of a range of countercultural figures and movements. The young Scottish artist, who won the inaugural Jarman Award for artist filmmakers in 2008, creates films about people who exist on the margins, and whose exile may be self-imposed just as it may be the result of a rejection by society. While the backbone of the traditional feature film or documentary genres may be the story, the heart of Fowler’s films is constituted by something altogether more ungraspable and sublime, and on which his storytelling is predicated: people themselves with all their inherent complexities and contradictions. Fowler explores lives and beliefs, avoiding any instrumental use of his subjects and without succumbing to the shortcomings of representation and without doing violence to his subject. from THE PARADOX OF CLARITY (Ellen Mara De Wachter, Flash art n. 268 October 09)