The Painting

1972/1999, 16mm, colour, sound, 13 minutes
Cast: Robert Beavers, Gregory Markopoulos
Filmed in Switzerland (Berne) and USA (Boston)
First Public Screening: Kusthalle Basel, 19 January 1999
Original Version: The Painting, 1972, 16mm, colour, sound, 20 minutes
First Public Screening: Cinematografischer Salon, Innsbruck, 1972
Projection copy preserved in the Study Collection of Anthology Film Archives, New York.

The Painting intercuts shots of traffic navigating the old-world remnants of downtown Bern, Switzerland, with details from a 15th-century altarpiece, “The Martyrdom of St. Hippolytus”. The painting shows the calm, near-naked saint in a peaceful landscape, a frozen moment before four horses tear his body to pieces while an audience of soign√© nobles look on; in the movie’s revised version, Beavers gives it a comparably rarefied psychodramatic jolt, juxtaposing shots of Gregory Markopoulos, bisected by shafts of light, with a torn photo of himself and the recurring image of a shattered windowpane.
(J. Hoberman, The Village Voice)