B.S. Johnson 1933-1973
Up Yours Too Guillaume Apollinaire! (1968)
Made in 1968 at the invitation of the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), B.S. Johnson's animated take on Apollinaire's 'Calligrammes' (1918) - precursors of 'concrete' or 'visual' poetry - is both a cheeky two-fingered salute to French Modernism, and an irreverent homage to surrealism; a humorous animated take on the calligrams of the famous poet and eroticist.
lthough perhaps best known for ground-breaking novels such as The Unfortunates and Christy Malry’s Own Double-Entry, BS Johnson was also the director a number of a number of extraordinary and daring films that have been out of circulation for decades. You’re Human Like the Rest of Them brings these rare and fascinating works - experimental shorts, humorous animation, provocative agitprop and uniquely personal documentaries - together for the first time, revealing Johnson to have been as radical and inventive a filmmaker as he was a writer. From his award-winning 1967 experimental film You’re Human Like the Rest of Them, which was based on his own poem, written in decasyllabics, to his ground-breaking TV films, including The Unfortunates (BBC) and the extraordinary Fat Man on a Beach (HTV), Johnson’s work is fuelled by his passionate belief in the power of words and images to convey the truth of our existence, and is filled with his infectious sense of humour. Amongst the ten premiere presentations in this unique collection is Not Counting the Savages, Johnson's uncompromising 1972 TV play, directed by Mike Newell. Considered lost for decades, it is presented from the only surviving material a black and white video recording discovered only a few months ago in the Johnson family home.