Derek Jarman’s Blue
November 4, 2016
Getty Center, Los Angeles
On November 4, 2016 over 350 people gathered outdoors on the Getty's Garden Terrace to experience Derek Jarman's extraordinary film Blue screened as an expanded cinematic installation, emphasizing a surround-sound experience overlooking sweeping views of Los Angeles—settling the radiant blue film against the night sky.
Made in 1993 by the acclaimed British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman, Blue features a single unwavering shot of the color blue with a deeply personal and poetic voiceover by Jarman and actors Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry, and John Quentin, and an exceptional ambient musical soundtrack by Simon Fisher Turner with contributions from Brian Eno, Coil, Momus, and Erik Satie.
Created in the year before his untimely death, Blue is a deeply courageous and moving account of Jarman's struggle with AIDS-related illness which caused partial blindness and bouts of seeing blue light, as well as a mediation on the void as explored by artist Yves Klein and his patented paint color International Klein Blue. Jarman singled out the color as the means to confront the complexities of life and death, from the clinical realities of health and illness to the corresponding mystical questions they conjure, which can only be answered by art.
Screened from a new high-definition digital transfer, this landmark film complements the current exhibitions The Art of Alchemy and The Alchemy of Color, which explore the scientific and seemingly magical energies that surround the use of color and development of pigments in centuries past.