Zoe Beloff dusts off Mutt and Jeff for look at early moving image at Site Gallery

By Mark Sheerin | 14 December 2011
Black and white film still of a woman at a desk with papers flying around
Zoe Beloff (film still)© Zoe Beloff. Image: sitegallery.org
Exhibition: Zoe Beloff: The Infernal Dream of Mutt and Jeff, Site Gallery, Sheffield, until January 18 2012

Much like the traditional archaeologist, media excavators can often stumble upon a mysterious object of value. Zoe Beloff was digging around in the Vrielynck Collection in Antwerp when she came across the inspiration for her current show.

The find was a roll of film in a box labelled with the words La rêve infernal de Mutt and Jeff 1. How could she not explore further such grandiose visions by protagonists of the longest running comic strip ever?

Her interest in the subsequent cartoon, which may be an original from the studio of Raoul Barré and Charles Bowers, or may be a European bootleg, led her to a consideration of early moving image, motion studies and management science.

Beloff draws this all together using film, antique equipment, wire sculpture and a reference to the most famous Mutt in art. In other words, the 'R. Mutt' whose name appears on the side of Duchamp's urinal.

The show is recommended, but those who can't get to Sheffield should fret not: the Scots-born, US-based artist has posted photos and a catalogue essay on her site at www.zoebeloff.com. There, too, it is worth digging around.

  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5.30pm. Admission free.

Visit Mark Sheerin’s contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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