PAUL HARNDEN – “the dream”

“the dream”
Paul Harnden & Stuart Pitkin, 16mm, b&w, uk, 2016

In a new evocative and utterly fascinating short 16mm film, hand processed, the mysterious creator draws us into a hypnotic immersion of sorts, into the riddles of his imagination.

Designer Paul Harnden has developed a thread of short films, over the years, in collaboration with photographer Stuart Pitkin. The duo deepens the whole mystery enshrouding one of the most surprising designers of our time. The floating camera effect permeates this saturated and mind-bending black and white short movie, distilling pictures grabbed from the most shaded areas of the collective unconsciousness.

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A naked woman, laying leisurely on a couch, conjures the phantom of Tarkovsky’s Mirror. Strange crowds walking superimposed with nights, themselves haunted by fires and threats, and men dressed with convict clothes, blend with heretical processions crosses on fire at the foot of a decadent pope’s throne, easily imaginable in a Francis Bacon painting (Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X). Now, a raging sea knocks the pier down. Murky, enigmatic, esoteric,Paul Harnden’s new short film, Dream, follows the worthy lineage of his previous collaborations with Stuart Pitkin (Pattern Mill in 2011 and Let them believe in 2014), and bring his label – and his creations, a powerful and symbolic, if not downright mystic dimension. After all, it unlocks, in layers, such questions as the body, the holy spirit, feminity, perjury and, above all, light, throughout the long night of men ?

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Born in Canada, settled in Brighton, England, Paul Harnden keeps himself at a willful distance from the media and the London spotlights, and has done so for almost twenty-five years. Secretive, idolized by Galliano, followed by both resellers and devoted fashion lovers from Dover Street Market (Soho) to LECLAIREUR Paris, via Van Ravenstein in Amsterdam, Harnden has been dedicating his heart and soul to his art. Few have so tirelessly pursued his quest for a raw yet refined aesthetic, pushing craftsmanship to its purest form, inspired by garments found during the American Civil War, the English pre-Industrial Revolution and the Amish culture.

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Stormy tones, thick tweeds and rough linens, grinned leathers and neglected fibers – Paul Harnden’s creations question our relationship to time, to materials and to the multiplicity of our legacies.