Helen Petts

Helen Petts started out in community video, directing low band u-matic tapes with large clunky equipment that explored the experience of being a young woman. Her collaborative project “MsTaken” Identity, made with Albany Video and many young women’s groups won Best Foreign Video award at the Turin Youth Film Festival in 1986. Co-funded by the GLC Women’s Committee, it was also commissioned by Channel 4’s experimental 11th Hour series. She then worked in mainstream film drama as an assistant director, and TV as a producer/director of arts programmes including BBC2’s The Late Show. A major road accident shifted her into a different way of working. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College for a while concentrated on painting influenced by the legacy of minimalism. Returning to moving image work when technology became extremely small and portable she now works with a compact stills camera and a laptop exploring tiny shifts in light and sound in the world around her. She often travels to remote landscapes and in 2010 was artist in residence at Kathmandu University Ethnomusicology Department in an old temple in rural Nepal. Helen has a passion for experimental music of many forms and her work often involves collaboration with established musicians from the world of free improvisation such as Phil Minton, Roger Turner, Adam Bohman , Ute Wassermann, Lol Coxhill, Sylvia Hallett, John Russell, Okkyung Lee and Steve Beresford. In 2013 she was a visiting artist/lecturer at Bergen Art Academy. She has received numerous Arts Council awards. Recent solo exhibitions include Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal, Hatton Gallery Newcastle, Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art, Trondheim and screenings at Tate Britain, Icon Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, CCA-Glasgow, Brighton Film Festival, Full of Noises Festival, Zwei Tage Zeitung Festival, Zurich.

Works by Helen Petts

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