Marc Schlossman

Video: Ghizlan El Glaoui

After shooting the PGB Gitlin Baker Solicitors video, I was asked by Alex Hearn of the creative agency The Big A to help him solve a visual problem he was wrestling with. He had developed the PGB Gitlin Baker website and he was designing a video brochure (consisting of print material and an HD video player built into the actual brochure) for the Moroccan artist Ghizlan El Glaoui, whose paintings are very hard to describe. Ghizlan installs LED light panels behind the canvas and paints in order to allow the backlight to illuminate through the painting in low ambient light. So as a room gets darker in the evening, for instance, the painting glows from within… but does that description say anything about how engaging Ghizlan’s work is? Not at all.

Alex and I spent an afternoon with Ghizlan in her Chelsea studio and at one point it went darker as clouds passed across the sun. Her canvases, which appeared as just painted surfaces in full daylight, were now glowing from within but you could still see the painted image.

A short video showing this transition is really the only way to understand Ghizlan’s work. But it was a tricky technical exercise to simulate room light changing as if from day to evening while gradually increasing the intensity of the painting’s internal light. With the help of a Juggler Lighting Desk (massive thanks to Angus McDonald of Cordis Video) and a lot of practice working the Juggler with one hand and the painting’s remote control with the other, we got the result Ghizlan needed for her video brochure.

Alex Hearn and The Big A can be found here:

http://thebiga.co.uk