Bio – my statement
The way I often choose to work is best described as “expressionist documentary.” Darkly poetic explorations of places. Stories and explorations of real things, real places, reinterpreted through an expressionistic, subjective and wholly immersed direct experience.
The deep role of time and change is the basic subject matter for all of my work. I’m interested in the “reintegration of fragments” or what Anselm Kiefer has described as “bringing together what has come apart.”
I am interested in revealing images which are very strong; that offer a glimpse of past worlds and indistinct realities; where the boundaries between fiction and documentary blur, and memories take on a life of their own.
I’m interested in exploring ‘magical locales’ (ref. Ivan Chteglov) and liminal spaces, in real life and in the mind.
About me (more factual!)
I make films, photography (exhibitions and photo-books), mixed media installations and I do spoken word performances. I am also a writer. I studied Film at the University of Westminster and did an MA in Fine Art at John Cass School of Art and a PhD in art history and film at Roehampton University. I am a Visiting Lecturer at Central St Martins and taught at the University for the Creative Arts. I ran the Luna Nera art group to 2009 (www.luna-nera.artsite.org.uk and the Studio75 Gallery and Project Space 2010-2013. I was part of the Steamship Project Space. I’m a co-director of Creative City Ltd.
I am Artist and Writer in Residence at the Swedenborg Society Swedenborg House London. I am writing a graphic historical fiction and creating art work that explores themes suggested by the the nexus of art, theatre and magick.
Philip James de Loutherbourg, a set designer, special effects artist, and painter, created the original EIDOPHUSIKON in 1781. It was an instant hit, with fans including Royal Academy president Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and the cogniscenti of London. After a few years, de Loutherbourg sold the equipment, and it became a popular sideshow. The key to de Loutherbourg’s EIDOPHUSIKON’s success was that he was a fantastic painter with a natural eye for the realistic sublime. He brought this talent to the Drury Lane Theatre, where he was the stage designer for David Garrick and the first to use visual special effects on the English stage.
The EIDOPHUSIKON was a mechanism for creating three-dimensional moving images at a time when such things were only fantasised about. It worked on the same principle as stage scenery, but on a smaller scale and with more complexities – because there were no actors, the images told the entire story. De Loutherbourg acted out sea battles and shipwrecks, as well as storms and other dramatic weather effects. His piece de resistance was Milton’s Paradise Lost‘s “gathering in Hell of Satan and his Demons.”
My EIDOPHUSIKON will operate on very similar principles, but instead of using de Loutherbourg’s paintings – or paintings copied from or similar to his – I will create the scenes using contemporary artworks. Painting, drawing, photography, collage, and mixed media will be used to create five scenes of moving images that will be entirely analogue and will be realised through the use of sound and lighting effects. I will follow de Loutherbourg’s principle in staging five scenes, including the scene of Hell, but interpreted for today’s audience.
I will not be creating all of the artwork myself. I will create each scene and collaborate with other artists who will help me bring each scene to life. In the end, it will be a collaborative effort, similar to a film or a stage play.
‘On the project, I’m working with Robert Poulter (New Model Theatre) as a consultant. Poulter has created numerous historical replicas of the Eidophusikon and other miniature theatres. He will give me advice on how to construct the mechanism. Below: Robert Poulter’s book ‘Model Theatre’On the project, I’m working with Robert Poulter as a consultant. Poulter has created numerous historical replicas of the Eidophusikon and other miniature theatres. He will give me advice on how to construct the mechanism. Below: Illustrations from Robert Poulter’s book ‘Model Theatre’
Unexpected Project! Cagliostro!
So, I’m writing a play, and it is already in production. Despite having
trained as a filmmaker, I had not done live theatre in many years. But then I
had an idea and ran with it. Count Cagliostro’s Apologia is “the
self-defence he never got to make.” Cagliostro was a notorious magician
and personality who roamed around 18th-century Europe, gaining
adoring fans and vicious enemies. He was accused of being a charlatan and con
man, as well as having profound wisdom and power. Which one is it? Let the
audience make up their own minds as Cagliostro makes his case and tries to
explain himself! Jagoda Kamov is directing, with Maurizio Molino as the Count.
We gave a sneak preview of ‘Profane and Sacred City,’ which was well received
by the audience. Keep an eye out for it.
Portfolio of Past Works
a brief portfolio of selected work.- an
overview of my work
‘The Limits of History’; projection installation with performance by Natasha Mayran
Below: Producer and curator, PSVI #timetoact Film Festival and exhibition – installation; collaboration with Anna Chiarini; keynote talks.
for more see https://curator.gillianmciver.org/
above; Films About Rivers collection, including the Clipper project including spoken word piece with Femi Origun-Williams, London 2020.
Curator and Producer of Exhibition ‘Alchemy!’ London 2022
Exhibited video Trans-States group show, curated by Elizabeth Tomos
Exhibited photography “Last Orders” The Steamship PS, London October 2021
Exhibited video and spoken word performance “Timeless Thames” The Steamship PS, London October 2020
Exhibited photography “Invisible Cities” The Steamship PS, London 2019
Curator and Producer of Exhibition and Film Festival, British Film Institute, #timetoact PSVI Film Festival 2018
Exhibition “Bon Collage” at Kottishop Berlin, 2018
Several Video works were featured at Casablanca Bienniale autumn 2016 catalogue excerpt
Talks, spoken word and interviews
Spoken Word Performance, Swedenborg House – launch of Swedenborg Review 4 publication 2023
Talk, Emery Walker House London 2023
Interview for SHWEP* podcast with Earl Fontanelle; *SHWEP is the Secret History of Western Esotericism 2022
Podcast for New Books Network 2017; interview by Kirstin L. Ellsworth
Profile of Gillian McIver in Stigmart01 Videofocus Summer 2014
Interview on Monocle Radio Sept 2014
Selected Exhibitions and Exhibition Screenings
Invisible Cities, The Steamship PS London
Bon Collage, KottiShop Gallery Berlin
PSVI Film Festival, British Film Institute, London
Casablanca Bienniale, Morocco
Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, Exeter
Teatro Alexandria, Egypt
Trispace Gallery London
Portobello Film Festival London
The Mayflower, Rotherhithe
Nightpiece Film Festival, Edinburgh Fringe
Espacio Enter, Tenerife, Canarias
Whitechapel Gallery, London. Film screening Tarkovsky’s River.
Digital Landscape – Espacio Enter, Tenerife, Canarias.
CeC’12 India – Parallel Visions | Global Art Video, Uttarakhand, India
* Co-founded Studio 75 artist run space in London*
Intervalos Lúcidos – Espacio Enter, Tenerife, Canarias
“Keeping Afloat – Gallery La Clinica Mundana, Valencia
ARTSIDE Southend on Sea (a Parallel Project production)
Revolution Now and Forever – Gallery Mavena, Croatia
HOST 02 – Art Funkl Manchester
Unfolding sequences – Montreal
CeC’11 India Global Art Video – Uttarakhand, India
dokumentART European Film Festival for Documentaries, Szczecin
EdgeLogue – New Delhi
Topolski Century Gallery, South Bank Centre, London
«PI five» Performance & Intermedia Festival, Szczecin
Southend -on-Sea Film Festival, Fringe; TAP
Optica Festival of Video Art, touring
Photocinema – Format Festival of Photography
Prospero’s Library – Accademia di Belle Arte, Catania, Italia
The Irresistible District – Helsinki
TINAG Festival – London