Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Guy Sherwin

Man With a Mirror

Guy is a favourite of KYTN, and we’ve shown many of his films. Along with Malcolm Le Grice, he is another of the UK’s great experimental filmmakers.  Over the years he’s made dozens of films, of which his ‘optical sound films’ that KYTN are interested in are only part.  Through all of them he’s extended a line of enquiry distinguished by his central concern with time and light as the fundamentals of cinema.

An invitation to be in two places at once, here and now in DCA and there and then in a forest clearing in 1976, conjured by the simple means of an 8mm projector, and not surprisingly given the title of the piece, a man with a mirror.


Guy filmed himself in 1976, standing in the middle of a forest clearing, and slowly moving a mirror held in his hands, mirrored on one side, painted white on the other.  As the mirror is rotated, we catch glimpses of the landscape, the camera, Guy’s face and so on.  For it’s performance, Guy projects this film over himself while holding an identical mirror and trying to replicate the movements he made in 1976.  As he moves the mirror, the film image is sometimes caught by the white side of the mirror, and sometimes bounced around the gallery, along with the original sound.  In doing so we catch glimpses of Guy; sometimes in 1976, sometimes right here in front of us and sometimes, confusingly and magically, both.


So really the film is about Guy then, and Guy now, as a metaphor for the passing of time, which of course all film (as a succession of images in time) is inherently about.  It’s a really moving and beautiful performance.

  • Audio

  • Man With a Mirror

    Credits / license
    • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0