Luke Willis Thompson

Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries, 2016
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Between 1964 and 1966, Andy Warhol made his “Screen Tests”, a series of 472 short films featuring people who were part of his circle, many of whom were regulars at his emblematic New York studio, The Factory. These silent, black-and-white portraits, taken individually with an automatic Bolex camera, pictured celebrities like Bob Dylan and Marcel Duchamp, alongside figures from the underground New York scene, such as Taylor Mead and Mario Montez. Warhol’s project involved the systematic use of 16-mm film, shot at 24 frames per second and then shown at a slower 16 frames per second.

Reproducing the exact technical specifications and formula of the Screen Tests, Luke Willis Thompson highlights the near-total absence of visible minorities from Warhol’s project, in which less than five portraits feature someone of colour.

Thompson’s film also relies on entirely different criteria for the casting of protagonists: Two young descendants of victims of historic police brutality in London.

Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries points up the sharp contrast between the reflection of world Warhol captured in film and the world outside of that, in order to contribute to the contemporary zeitgeist of artistic and political reflection on police and state violence.

Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries is commissioned by the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, with the support of Creative New Zealand, courtesy of the artist, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland, New Zealand and Nagel Draxler, Cologne, Germany