Stan Brakhage – The Dante Quartet
January 20, 2011
Posted by on
Stan Brakhage’s work was crafted over six years. Very much seen as a cinematic abstract expressionism. This work is a palimpsest composed of fragments of footage, layered with drips and washes of colour, scratches and graphic patterns. Endlessly shifting in different pace. This movie was starting point in our “Scrach movie” exercise for the Film and Video course.
“The Dante Quartet is in fact the end result of Brakhage’s almost lifelong fascination with The Divine Comedy. It is a brief but spectacular filmic attempt to find a visual equivalent or rhyme for the four stages of the ascent from hell depicted by Dante: divided into ‘Hell Itself,’ ‘Hell Spit Flexion,’ ‘Purgation,’ and ‘Existence is Song.’ For Brakhage, this visualization is achieved by “bringing down to earth Dante’s vision, inspired by what’s on either side of one’s nose and right before the eyes: a movie that reflects the nervous system’s basic sense of being.” Thus, his vision of Dante is experiential, grounded in the transformative realities of earthly existence; for Brakhage “heaven” or “god” is to be found in the physical reality or materiality of the world.”