1978-81, video (from super-8mm film), 33 minutes
HANAFUDA observes the artist, Jasper Johns, and the master Japanese silkscreen printers at Simca Print Artists, as they created three new prints from Johns USUYUKI and CICADA series.
For me, the camera was a pretext for structuring an in-depth apprenticeship with a major artist. The finished film recapitulates my process of learning, gleaned over time, as I observed Johns and the printers at work.
What I wanted to know was how one generates a work of art and, for that matter, what is art, what work is involved, and how do ideas as opposed to physical labor drive the decision making process. The films became a meditation on art and craft, as well as on the dialectic of mind and body, concept and actual work.
HANAFUDA is the name of a game the printers played in the studio. Its flowered cards evoke gambling and permutations, as well as the seasons and the passage of time.