Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Silent Village exhibition now open!

Peter Finnemore, Humphrey Jennings, Rachel Trezise, Paolo Ventura – The Silent Village

Jan 16 - Feb 27 2010

On June 10th 1942, the Czechoslovakian village of Lidice was obliterated by the Nazis. In total, 340 villagers were murdered, either by firing squads or later in concentration camps. Throughout the West, news of the atrocity was met with outrage that inspired various acts of commemoration including poems, novels, symphonies and films.

Within weeks of the Lidice tragedy, work had begun on translating those events into a film supported by the Ministry of Information, London, and made in South Wales. In September 1942, a Crown Film Unit crew arrived in the Upper Swansea Valley at the small village of Cwmgïedd, close to the town of Ystradgynlais. Under the supervision of the artist, poet and filmmaker Humphrey Jennings, they set out to make a short film that recreated the fate of Lidice. The Silent Village (1943) both memorialises a recent tragedy, and alludes to future scenarios involving loss of liberty and ultimately death.

This exhibition and accompanying publications examine from a new perspective the distinctive relations of time and place that defined Humphrey Jennings’ original film. The film has provided contemporary artists and writers with an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances that brought it into being and some of the issues it raises. The artists Paolo Ventura and Peter Finnemore, the writer Rachel Trezise and the film historian David Berry, offer their response to a film that is both a reconstruction of the Lidice atrocity and a film about Welsh life in the early 1940s.

The Silent Village is a Ffotogallery commission in partnership with the University of Wales, Newport.

The project initiator, exhibition curator and main essay writer is Russell Roberts, Reader in Photography at the European Centre for Photographic Research, University of Wales, Newport.

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