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Elisabeth Frink was brought up in rural Suffolk, near to an active airbase, where as a child she experienced the machine gun attack of a German fighter plane. Warfare and seeing filmed reports of concentration camps had a powerful impact on Frink, who later became an active supporter of Amnesty International. he conflicting horror and heroism of war, the dead hand of political oppression, compassion and spiritual strength are themes to which she frequently returned.

Frink had early and continued artistic success and made mainly figurative sculptures, particularly of male and animal subjects. She was more concerned with representing mankind than with portraits of individuals. In her obituary, Bryan Robertson wrote that ‘the images of a single naked male figure, standing, walking or running, say something about endurance, vulnerability and essential human nature that haunts the memory’.

This display of sculptures includes a series of three Riace bronzes inspired by the ancient Greek warrior statues discovered off the coast of Riace, Italy, in 1972. Frink felt that ‘the original figures were very beautiful, but also very sinister... these were warriors who would go out and fight your battles for you, mercenaries... in other words they were thugs’.

The painted faces on these and Sitting Man II are inspired by Frink’s interest in Aboriginal art that developed after a visit to Australia. She uses the idea of a mask as ‘a way of showing that their beauty in a sense hides what they are up to’. Running Man is tall, lithe and naked. Frink said ‘my Running Men are not athletes: they are vulnerable, they are running away from something, or towards it’.

The display also includes standing male figures which in turn convey strength and defiance, disorientation and fallibility.

Frink lived in Britain and France, before settling in Dorset. Her experience of different landscapes made her increasingly enthusiastic about her sculpture being shown in the open air and she was an early supporter of YSP. An open air retrospective of her work was shown here in 1983 and a memorial exhibition during 1993.

E L I Z A B E T H   F R I N K
A N I M A T I N G   T H E   R I A C E   B R O N Z E S

Elizabeth Frink is introduced as follows on the Yorkshire Sculpture Park Website. I have enlarged sections of the text to draw attention to what I consider important in her work

Riace Figures II, III & IV 1986-89


Frink was inspired by the 5th century Greek Riace Bronzes discovered in

1972. Frink described how ‘the  original figures are very beautiful, but

also very sinister, and that is what they  are supposed to be’. Frink once  wrote, ‘thuggishness is a bit of a  preoccupation with me’. These figures illustrate an understanding  of the male psyche and the figure of war, both perpetrator and victim.

Frink became increasingly interested in Aboriginal art after a visit to

Australia and the white masks of the Riace Figures are made in a direct

response to this. She also uses the mask as ‘a way of showing that their beauty in a sense hides what they are up to’

Dame Elisabeth Jean Frink, DBE, CH, RA (born 14 November 1930, Thurlow, Suffolk – died 18 April 1993, Blandford Forum, Dorset) was an English sculptor and printmaker. Her Times Obituary noted the three essential themes in her work as the nature of Man; the "horseness" of horses; and the divine in human form.

Although she made many drawings and prints, she is best known for her bronze outdoor sculpture, which has a distinctive cut and worked surface. This is created by her adding plaster to an armature, which she then worked back into with a chisel and surform. This process contradicts the very essence of "modeling form" established in the modeling tradition and defined by Rodin's handling of clay.[citation needed]

In the 1960s Frink’s continuing fascination with the human form was evident in a series of falling figures and winged men. While living in France from 1967 to 1970, she began a series of threatening, monumental male heads, known as the goggled heads. On returning to England, she focused on the male nude, barrel-chested, with mask-like features, attenuated limbs and a pitted surface, for example Running Man (1976; Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mus. A.). Frink’s sculpture, and her lithographs and etchings created as book illustrations, drew on archetypes expressing masculine strength, struggle and aggression.

This from Wikipaedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Elisabeth_Frink

Below some of the many videos based on Frink’s work.


I have known the Frink's since first they arrived at the Yorkshire sculpture Park many years ago. The siting of the Frink's has always struck me as being entirely appropriate. They are set well apart from the other sculptures and the Riaces are kept together in a tight formidable grouping, they face the world together, there are no other sculptures behind them. They are larger than life size and their sense of scale is emphasised by the woodland in which they exist and have their being. I have photographed them many times and in all weathers and, it seems to me, that they are at their best in the winter when the leaves are off the trees. They are then at their most stark and most threatening.

In attempting to animate them, to give them life, even a soul perhaps I am not thinking of Disney like animation or the world of animation beloved of Wallace and Gromit called, I believe, Claymation. If you check  the You Tube video of the statuary in York Minster you will understand that this is the sort of ridiculous effect I wish to avoid. Rather I want to attempt something akin to Eisenstein's tearing down of the statue of the Czar in his famous film "October."See clip.

I will be using sound effects and music to project emotions onto the Riace sculptures as well as intercutting within the landscape to suggest their agitation. I have also placed a human being, all 5'6" of myself in their midst partly to suggest a potential interaction with the world of humans as well as to accentuate the larger scale of these warriors.

I have made several attempts at filming within the sculpture Park and clicking on the the mosaic screenshot below will enable you to see my first attempt and something of my method.

Eisenstein's tearing down of the statue of the Czar in his famous film "October."

Specifics of the Kuleshov effect

Kuleshov edited together a short film in which a shot of the expressionless face of Tsarist matinee idol Ivan Mosjoukine was alternated with various other shots (a plate of soup, a girl, a little girl's coffin). The film was shown to an audience who believed that the expression on Mosjoukine's face was different each time he appeared, depending on whether he was "looking at" the plate of soup, the girl, or the coffin, showing an expression of hunger, desire or grief respectively. Actually the footage of Mosjoukine was the same shot repeated over and over again. Vsevolod Pudovkin (who later claimed to have been the co-creator of the experiment) described in 1929 how the audience "raved about the acting... the heavy pensiveness of his mood over the forgotten soup, were touched and moved by the deep sorrow with which he looked on the dead child, and noted the lust with which he observed the woman. But we knew that in all three cases the face was exactly the same."[1]

Kuleshov used the experiment to indicate the usefulness and effectiveness of film editing. The implication is that viewers brought their own emotional reactions to this sequence of images, and then moreover attributed those reactions to the actor, investing his impassive face with their own feelings. Kuleshov believed this,along with montage, had to be the basis of cinema as an independent art form.

The effect has also been studied by psychologists, and is well-known among modern film makers. Alfred Hitchcock refers to the effect in his conversations with François Truffaut, using actor James Stewart as the example.

The experiment itself was created by assembling fragments of pre-existing film from the Tsarist film industry, with no new material. Mosjoukine had been the leading romantic "star" of Tsarist cinema, and familiar to the audience.

Kuleshov demonstrated the necessity of considering montage as the basic tool of cinema art. In Kuleshov's view, the cinema consists of fragments and the assembly of those fragments, the assembly of elements which in reality are distinct. It is therefore not the content of the images in a film which is important, but their combination. The raw materials of such an art work need not be original, but are pre-fabricated elements which can be disassembled and re-assembled by the artist into new juxtapositions.

Uncanny valley - The hypothesis that near-human replicas elicit revulsion from human observers. Part of the theory discusses how, similar to the Kuleshov effect, as humanoid replicas become increasingly less human in shape, the audience will tend to anthropomorphize their personality more. For example, the android C-3PO from Star Wars possesses only a generally humanoid outline, and his metal face-plate physically cannot move to express emotional responses. However, due to editing (combined with the body     language of the actor wearing the costume), C-3PO still appears to be reacting with frustration, fear, joy, etc.

This from Wikipaedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuleshov_Eff ect

It is important to our understanding of human projection of anthropomorphic feeling that we understand something of the Kuleshov Effect

Film of the original experiment

A modern version

The Kuleshov effect is in heavy use in the case of HAL himself. By all accounts, the HAL computer displays a broader spectrum of emotions than any human being in the film. In him, Kubrick brings the Kuleshov effect to a kind of Zen perfection beyond the reach of Mozhukhin or any other actor. HAL has no face at all. His voice is flat and monotonous, just as it is programmed to be. His "eyes" are set in motionless panels that function only as reminders of his presence, not mirrors of his soul. He has absolutely no mechanism for emotional expression. None but one, that is--HAL is utterly reliant on the Kuleshov effect to make his feelings plain.

This from,

http://kubrickfilms.tripod.com/id2 1.html

8 Amazing Effects That Background Music Has On Sales

Loud music causes customers to move through a supermarket more quickly, without reducing sales volume.

Low-tempo music causes shoppers to move slowly, but they also buy more. Similarly at restaurants, slow music causes people to take their time but buy more.

Classical music versus Top 40 music at a wine store increases sales and leads customers to buy more expensive merchandise.

Classical music at a restaurant makes people buy more than does pop music or no music

However, classical music makes people think of a store as expensive, and this isn't right in all contexts

French music at a wine store makes people buy French wines. German music makes them buy German wines

Playing music when callers are on hold makes them stay on the line longer before hanging up

People perceive a shorter wait time when they hear music that they like

Click supermarket picture above for mote details

These studies are elaborated on at this most interesting site


Frink's are easy to film.

They stand still and they are very patient. They are located out of doors where there is ample light so that considerable depths of field are possible.

The only possible difficulties were the other people who like to visit them at the Yorkshire sculpture Park. I therefore arrived early in each of my filming days, and was rewarded by being the only person around.

On my final, most successful shoot, I profited from my previous two experiences and was a great deal more careful in my capturing of focus and unfocused Frinks. I also experimented with camera shake, camera movement and camera movement while zooming in or zooming out. I also found that moving the camera at speed made autofocusing problematic so that the camera had to hunt for focus and this I found very useful because  that hunting, that searching for a point of focus would hopefully transfer to the Frinks and to the viewers.

I also made use of more pullback zooms which would reveal the Frink's in relation to each other over one or the other's shoulder, this helped to suggest a sense of a relationship between them.

Because the footage had been captured much more carefully and captured in ways which might suggest agitation the final edit proved to be a great deal easier and more effective.

I had decided on my soundtrack long before the final edit, an agitated piece of music followed by something more serene.

To this soundtrack I also added  natural sounds, distant thunder and the sounds of early morning birdsong. Just after the opening credits faded I added some very loud and menacing staccato drumbeats and tried to edit the Frink's heads on the beat with these sounds. This proved to be quite successful.

In terms of the look of the footage I immediately transferred the colour footage to greyscale, pushing the blacks and the contrast until the sky was a whiteout levels.

This decision made the dark outlines of the trees and the Frink's standout more starkly. It invited the eye to concentrate more on outline than texture, or obviously colour, it also took away all the colour from the human being in the sequence rendering him white faced like the Frink's themselves.

Essentially the idea was to suggest that the Frink's were capable of agitation and capable, when calmed, of repose.

The human being attempting to calm them by stroking their hand, rubbing their back rather in the way that one might calm a living animal thereby allowing the audience to think of them, even perhaps feel for them as human entities, capable of human emotions.

The purpose of the music was to control mood, to

suggest hyper anxiety initially and then move to something sadder, perhaps, and ultimately to serene resignation.


CLICK HERE to move to The Final Outcome