Michael Nyman


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By Michael Nyman

”When I started there was no intention to make films or a book of photographs. It happened because I was there, had a camera and an eye and a curiosity, my own visual diaries of a distracted but persistent mind.” Michael Nyman, 2009

“CINE OPERA” is a series of video works shot by artist Michael Nyman in various parts of the world during the past fifteen years. Drawn from his globe-trotting travels, introspective journeys and life-changing discoveries, the series is a collection of over 45 cinematographic records documenting various capsules of every-day life, spontaneous events and chosen circumstances through first-hand observation. The work is an attempt to capture living cultures and forgotten traditions in a format which illustrates a diaristic study of modern-day life. Although, an obvious parallel can be made with the current reality TV phenomena in pop culture and in some cases to the polemic argument over pervasive CCTV surveillance in most countries, Nyman’s intentions go beyond the act of simple observation, and the obvious criticism of continuous scrutiny and voyeurism in contemporary societies. “Cine Opera” appropriates content from everyday life and delivers a quirky yet brutally truthful view of the world in which we live. The footage is blissfully accompanied by Nyman’s soundtrack which is deeply influenced from borrowed, local sounds and blended with the vast range of his musical repertoire. As a result, the mundane becomes peculiar, the unknown romantic, and the forgotten suddenly recalled. The series emerges as a thorough study of our uneasy times and attempts to reflect on the human condition in this nascent century.


Michael Nyman is a composer, recording artist, writer and filmmaker. Internationally acclaimed for the soundtracks he provided for other filmmakers since 1976, his own moving image work has emerged in the last five years as a significant addition to his creative practice. The 60 or so films he has shot, collected under the title ‘CINE OPERA’ are video records, generally of the everyday, of spontaneous events observed with the discipline of a curious and totally focused gaze.

In September 2010 Nyman released his first feature film, ‘NYman with a Movie Camera’, a shot-by-shot reconstruction of Dziga Vertov’s iconic film, ‘Man with a Movie Camera’, for which he had written an authoritative soundtrack in 2002. ‘NYman with a Movie Camera’ has been screened at the Toronto, Turin and Berlin film festivals and films from ‘CINE OPERA’ have also been screened at the Copenhagen film festival, BAFTA, and in concert, film and art venues in Morelia, Mexico City, Stockholm, Venice, Moscow, Perm, Nottingham, Berlin, Sydney, New York and as part of the LOOP Festival in Barcelona.
Nyman has collaborated with various contemporary artists, including Bruce McLean, Mary Kelly and, most recently, Kutlug Ataman. In 2008, he published ‘Sublime’, his first photobook containing nearly 2000 prints
from his photographic archive. In 2009, his first major British exhibition of his photo and video work was held at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. Michael Nyman has also exhibited in various public institutions including Tate Modern, Reina Sofia Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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