Andrew Noren, who described himself as a “light thief” and “shadow bandit,” made some of cinema’s purest, most mesmerizing films. Working mainly with light, shadow, and movement he created moving-image works of breathtaking velocity, volume, and tactility. He elevated the world “out there”—his home and garden—into an evanescent, ecstatic state of luminous being, transforming images into a beguiling contemplation of the phantasmal nature of appearances. As Noren wrote, “Light, in itself, is an absolute mystery. It is literally invisible to us, it has no actual substance, no specific being. It cannot be said to even exist, except as a ‘presence’… [But] light creates mind.” The Museum of Modern Art has collected the films of Andrew Noren since 1969, and has presented two retrospectives of his work—both organized by former film curator Laurence Kardish—in 1981 and 2009. Comprising five films made between 1978 and 2008, Above the Lighted Field is presented as a tribute to the artist, who died at 71 on May 2, 2015.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film.