Friday 15 March, 7pm

We’re so pleased to welcome writer and curator Ellen Mara De Wachter to introduce a screening of two films by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt for the first event in the new Aller Park Studios programme.

Celebrated for their earthworks and sculpture in the landscape, Smithson and Holt married in 1963 and often travelled together and documented their work, and themselves, in photographs and on film. For this screening, Aller Park Studios presents Spiral Jetty (1970) and Mono Lake (1968-2004).

Spiral Jetty is a portrait of Smithson’s landmark earthwork of the same name, which was constructed in 1970 on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. A voice-over by the artist describes the evolution of The Spiral Jetty and his intention for Holt to record ‘the earth’s history’. He wrote that the film ‘began as a set of disconnections, a bramble of stabilised fragments taken from things obscure and fluid, ingredients trapped in a succession of frames, a stream of viscosities both still and moving. And the movie editor, bending over such a chaos of ‘takes’ resembles a palaeontoligist sorting out glimpses of a world not yet together, a land that has yet to come to completion, a span of time unfinished, a spaceless limbo on some spiral reels’.

Mono Lake documents a California road trip taken by Smithson, Holt and Michael Heizer in 1968. Featuring their Super 8 film footage and images taken with an Instamatic camera, the film explores one of the oldest and most distinctive lakes in North America and shares an intimate view of a landscape that became central to the work of all three artists. Holt and Smithson originally planned to edit Mono Lake together. After Smithson died in 1973, the project was put aside until 2004 when it was edited by Nancy Holt for the Robert Smithson Retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Ellen Mara De Wachter will introduce Smithson and Holt’s work and present her short film Suburban Odyssey: Revisiting Robert Smithson’s Passaic, in which she retraces Smithson’s journey to his home town of Passaic, New Jersey, in search of the monuments of his time.

De Wachter is a frequent contributor to Frieze magazine and her writing has featured in publications including The White Review, Art Monthly, Mousse Magazine and Art Review, and on BBC Radio 4. Her book Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration explores the phenomenon of collaboration in the visual arts and its potential in society at large.

Please do just come along but booking is advisable to guarantee a seat.
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Everyone is welcome, admission is free but donations are very helpful. Join us for Japanese canapés and cocktails from 6.30pm.


Aller Park, Park Road, Dartington Hall Estate TQ9 6EL

There is a car park on the West side of the building – turn right off Park Road. Parking is free in all car parks on the estate after 6pm. For more information about visiting the estate, directions and maps, visit the Dartington website here.

Unfortunately, there isn’t currently an accessible wheelchair entrance to the Aller Park building – there are four steps from the car park to the entrance hall.

Live events are recorded whenever possible and shared online. Visit our LINKS page for details.


Image: Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Mono Lake (1968-2004), film still.
Courtesy of the Holt/Smithson Foundation and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. ©Holt/Smithson Foundation