Jane and Louise Wilson and the Kubrick Archive
Unfolding the Aryan Papers, Jane and Louise Wilson
Jane and Louise Wilson were commissioned to make a work in response to The Stanley Kubrick Archives holdings. The resulting film focuses on Kubrick’s Aryan Papers project - a film about the Holocaust that Kubrick researched for many years, but which he never made.
Commissioned by Animate Projects and the BFI with The Stanley Kubrick Archives, University of the Arts London.
Update December 2008
Unfolding the Aryan Papers is as much about a film that never happened as it is a portrait of the chosen lead actress Johanna ter Steege. It begins with images of Johanna taken in 1993 by Stanley Kubrick - they are of the wardrobe shoot for the film Aryan Papers. Johanna was to play the lead role of Tania, a compelling character. Tania is central to the film: she is a Polish Jew trying to save herself and her family from the Nazis.
When we visited the Kubrick Archive, we were intrigued to look at the detailed research for a film that never made it into production. The amount of research is overwhelming and it seems to have overwhelmed Kubrick himself. The research left him very depressed and he abandoned the project.
The work takes its title from Kubrick's film and, intercut between stills of Johanna, are images from the archive of specific scenes Kubrick wanted to recreate and images from the Ealing Studios Archive of interiors, shot in 1939/40. The film moves into live action with footage of Johanna filmed now, fifteen years later, where she appears to come to life, recreating stills from the original wardrobe shoot.
Jane and Louise Wilson
Update June 2008
We have found our extensive research in the Kubrick archive, specifically around the Aryan Papers, both compelling and absorbing. Although the film never made it into production, the fragments of research around it are fascinating.
We want to make a work re-photographing images from the pre-production, research phase of ‘Aryan Papers’, using wardrobe research stills and period stills from Ealing film studios. The images that we’ve selected are, we hope, highly evocative - not only of the mood the film was trying to create, but because they also show the level and depth of the attention to detail that Kubrick had as a filmmaker.
As filmmakers, our own work involves research and development, lasting a year Stasi City, and four years for Governor's Island. So we readily identified with the Aryan Papers, particularly because, as artists, often the things we are involved in don't always come to fruition. But there remains the extensive time, involvement and research, all of which are always important and necessary. We would love to have seen this film made, but only having the initial fragments to go on makes it incredibly enigmatic. We want to explore this as it is - this enigmatic quality which makes it profoundly cinematic.
Jane and Louise Wilson
The BFI (British Film Institute) promotes understanding and appreciation of Britain's rich film and television heritage and culture. Established in 1933, the BFI runs a range of activities and services, including the BFI National Archive, Sight & Sound magazine and the BFI Southbank.
The BFI Southbank Gallery is London's only major venue specifically dedicated to the commissioning and presentation of the moving image in all its contemporary richness, providing regularly changing exhibitions by leading artists.
The Stanley Kubrick Archives
The archive is held at the University Archives and Special Collections Centre, University of the Arts London. It contains scripts, production notes, research, correspondence, storyboards, annotated books, sketches, photographs, 35mm film and out-takes, videotapes, scores, sound recordings, models, set designs, props, costumes, lighting plans, equipment and memorabilia.
London College of Communication
London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, where The Stanley Kubrick Archives is held, is part of the Skillset Screen Academy network, with animation as one of the key specialist areas. The Animation Department is developing a programme that incorporates the benefits of a solid foundation in animation skills alongside the recognition that these can be applied in a range of developing formats in a wider context.