Digital premiere: watch the PHYLLIDA documentary

Published 4 April 2020

Enjoy this exclusive digital premiere of the film ‘PHYLLIDA’, a documentary portrait of the artist Phyllida Barlow RA. Released on her birthday, this film celebrates her pioneering contribution to the field of sculpture.

  • This documentary is an intimate portrait of British sculptor Phyllida Barlow during her preparation for the major survey, ‘cul-de-sac’ at the Royal Academy last year. Directed by Cosima Spender, this film maps the roots of Barlow’s oeuvre, as she revisits childhood memories, domestic and urban spaces, and their subsequent role in her creative process.

    Phyllida Barlow began studying at Chelsea College of Art in 1960, and went on to study and teach at Slade School of Art for more than twenty years, becoming Emerita Professor in 2009. She was elected a Royal Academician in 2011, and represented Great Britain in the 2017 Venice Biennale, where she created the ambitious installation, folly. Watch this evolution and the artist’s influences in PHYLLIDA. “I want the work to be traversed in a way that your memory of it is tested, so that you keep forgetting what you’ve seen,” Barlow explains, “I think that is the nature of sculpture – not something that can be held as a whole image in your head, only as fragments… The spaces, the silences in between, are as much a component of the work as the thing itself.”

    Cosima Spender is an award-winning documentary director and graduate from the National Film and Television School who has made several co-productions for BBC Storyville. Spender’s feature film Palio is available on Netflix, as is Without Gorky. She is currently directing a five-part series for Netflix.

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