Films & Schedules

  • The Butcher's Shop

  • Philip Haas

Two Screen installation

Philip Haas
Written By:
Philip Haas
Production Designer:
Stuart Nunn
Sean Bobbitt
Jodi Gibson
Richard King
Angelo Badalamenti
Principal Cast: Ivan Putrov, Adam Burton, Tam Mutu, Aaron Hunt, Lydia Bewley

Curated by Noah Cowan and Francisco Alvarex
Presented in partnership with Royal Ontario Museum's Institute for Contemporary Culture

September 4 - 13
The Spirit House, main floor, ROM
100 Queen's Park
Saturday - Thursday, 10 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday, 10 AM - 9:30 PM

Thursday September 0410:00AM The Royal Ontario Museum Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Filmmaker Philip Haas has been a successful interlocutor between film and the visual arts since his groundbreaking essay documentary, A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China (or Surface Is Illusion but So Is Depth), which featured an ebullient David Hockney discussing a late seventeenth-century Chinese scroll by artist Wang Hui. His subsequent work, grouped under the “Magicians of the Earth” moniker, explored the working practices and impacts of artists in non-Western cultures. After a fifteen-year break, during which he became a much-praised international feature filmmaker (Up at the Villa, Angels and Insects), Haas has returned to the visual arts with an ambitious new project.

Commissioned by the Kimbell Art Museum in Forth Worth, Texas, The Butcher's Shop is the first in a series of installation works to animate the Kimbell's collection in innovative ways. Two projections reveal the social and aesthetic context of Annibale Carracci's late sixteenth-century painting, The Butcher's Shop. One screen captures what is happening within the frame of the painting: two butchers work their trade and jocularly pose for the artist. The other screen turns the viewer around to face the painter himself and the bustling city life behind him. Through controlled production in a studio, Haas evokes the chiaroscuro of the period's aesthetics and the formal precision of the painter's work while giving us clues to the social context of Carracci's age.

A haunting score by Angelo Badalamenti sets a contemplative mood, at once contemporary and immersive.

The work is mounted within the Spirit House, near the entry doors of the Royal Ontario Museum. This project represents our second collaboration with the ROM's Institute of Contemporary Culture, the mandate of which is to interrogate the relationship between the twenty-first century and the museum's natural and social history collections.

Philip Haas has directed six features films, including The Music of Chance (93), the Academy Award®-nominated Angels and Insects (95) and Up at the Villa (00). Retrospectives of his documentaries – ten films, all dealing with contemporary visual artists, ranging from David Hockney to Australian aboriginal ground painters – have been held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, the Tate Gallery in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He was educated at Harvard University and teaches at Princeton University.

Cadillac People's Choice Award