2015, HDV, 21 minutes
A reflection on light is a film that consists of a seemingly single shot that travels across different locations and histories, to the hanging of a painting ‘Let there be light’ by Mainie Jellett in the School of Physics in Trinity College Dublin. Mainie Jellett was a painter from Ireland who in Paris in 1921 studied with Albert Gleizes, considered one of the founders of Cubism. Weaving together events from across the strands of time that have brought this painting to this particular location, the film’s non-chronological timeline traverses different fields and disciplines to present a wider context to the concerns of the painting. The fluidity of the film is further tautened through the film’s voiceover and soundtrack which maps the viewing of a history with the experiential immediacy of music.
“A Reflection of Light opens with a shot that defines the parameters of this spectral world. Fixed on a view of a square in Dublin, the camera lens is refocused to pull back through a windowpane. The image warps and buckles, suddenly nothing more than a wave of light, until the camera settles within the room. It’s a moment that renders the material world superficial, a construct of the eye and a construct so deliberately crafted that we sense the artist’s direction behind the shot. The eye of the camera is the eye of the artist and the ‘I’ of the artist...The whole film is shaped by a series of long tracking shots that take us slowly around three buildings: the interior of an apartment owned by the artist Mainie Jellett, a gallery space at IMMA, and the department of physics at Trinity College…While these long shots heighten my awareness of linear time, something contrary is occurring too. The motion of the camera takes me to the notebooks of Mainie Jellett’s grandfather who invented a prism and then to a cubist painting by Mainie which contains a half shadow prism…Then, as Weir remarks that ‘Time splinters at each moment into the past and the present making a dark curve in space’, the film takes us through a curve in one of Mainie’s paintings to a gallery where Mainie’s work is part of an exhibition on Cubism…The tracking shots may move us forward in a linear fashion but Weir demonstrates how we weave other dimensions of time and space into our daily consciousness…Perhaps what the film demonstrates is just how light, time and space are transformed as they pass through another medium: the lens of the camera. Grace Weir, has linked the ‘I’ of the maker to the eye of the camera as she rotates a work through time and space. Her film elaborates something…which is the perpetual motion of human consciousness: an ever-evolving perception and interpretation of the world around us.” Francis McKee