Jeremy Blake's "Reading Ossie Clark", collages original film, drawing and still photography with both painted and digital elements in a 9-minute continuous loop narrated by "art world doyenne" Clarissa Dalrymple. In memory of Swinging London's premier fashion designer, Ossie Clark, the animated film follows the arc of his career from its influential prime in the late 60's and early 70's, when he outfitted and enchanted celebrities and socialites around the world, to its grim conclusion of being stabbed to death by his companion 1996 at the age of 54.
The script for the artwork is a prose poem inspired by various fragments of Ossie Clark's published diaries. Clark's groundbreaking work in fashion may be familiar, but Blake found his diaries to be fascinating and stunning artifacts as well. For the film, Blake created hand-painted and digitally animated forms inspired by Clark's colorful, stream-of-consciousness entries. Here the name-dropping and glamour-gossip integral to Clark's musings mingle with blossoming shapes that morph according to the tone and tempo of Dalrymple's voice. Moving abstractions slowly resolve to actual filmed footage as well as floral and geometric motifs based on the patterns of Ossie Clark's dresses. With this work Blake pays homage to Clark's extraordinary talent while capturing impressions of his fast-paced and unsettling life. In the process Blake created a cinematic, psychological and poetic portrait of Clark and the times he represented.