"However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."
So said Stanley Kubrick in his 1968 interview with Playboy. It's a curiously life-affirming statement from a man whose films include A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Lolita and Eyes Wide Shut.
But Kubrick's films, dark-hearted as they may be, shine a light on humanity in a way that cheerier offerings cannot. His works are seldom-straightforward. They are left open-ended, starkly peering at the nature of mankind in a godless, wintry and constantly shifting moral universe.
One of the most influential directors in all of history, Kubrick is known for his elaborate set design, protracted scenes, extreme camera angles, lapses in dialogue and wildly inventive soundtracks. He was a notorious perfectionist, obsessing over the tiniest of details and often ordering thirty or forty retakes of the same scene. Shelly Duvall, who played Wendy Torrance in The Shining, said that working with Kubrick was "almost unbearable... day after day of excruciating work."
But such agonising perfectionism clearly paid off. He has left behind a body of work that is unique in the vastness of its vision and the sharpness and humanity of its observation.
This summer, Somerset house are to stage an exhibition which riffs of Kubrick's legacy. Artists such as Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Michael Nyman will contribute a work that has been inspired by the director.
Expect the weird and the wonderful.
|What||Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick, Somerset House|
|Where||Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Temple (underground)|
30 Jun 16 – 29 Aug 16, 10am - 6pm, with selected late night openings on Thursdays
|Website||Click here for more information|