Chris Cunningham

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Biography

  • Chris Cunningham is an English music video film director and video artist. He was born in Reading, Berkshire in 1970 and grew up in Lakenheath, Suffolk. The video collection The Work of Director Chris Cunningham was released in November 2004 as part..
    Early work After seeing Cunningham's work on the 1994 film version Judge Dredd, Stanley Kubrick head hunted Cunningham[1] to design and supervise animatronic tests of the central robot child character in his version of the film A.I. Cunningham worked for over a year on the film A.I., before leaving to pursue a career as a director. Earlier work in film included model making, prosthetic make-up and concept illustrations for Hardware and Dust Devil with director Richard Stanley, as well as Nightbreed. In 1990–1992 he contributed the occasional cover painting and strip for Judge Dredd Megazine, working under the pseudonym Chris Halls, the surname of his stepfather.[2] [edit] Music videos Cunningham has had close ties to Warp Records since his first production for Autechre. Videos for Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker" are perhaps his best known. His video for Björk's "All Is Full of Love" won multiple awards, including an MTV music video award for Breakthrough Video and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. It was also the first ever music video to win a Gold Pencil at the D&AD Awards. It can still be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His video for Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" was nominated for the "Best Video" award at the Brit Awards 2000. He also directed Madonna's "Frozen" video. [edit] Video art His video installation Flex was first shown in 2000 at the Royal Academy of Arts, and subsequently at the Anthony d'Offay Gallery and other art galleries. Flex was commissioned by the Anthony d'Offay Gallery for the Apocalypse: Beauty & Horror in Contemporary Art exhibition curated by Norman Rosenthal and Max Wigram at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2000. The Anthony d'Offay Gallery also commissioned Monkey Drummer, a 2½ minute piece intended for exhibition as a companion to Flex at the 2000 Apocalypse exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, however the piece was not finished in time. In it an automaton with nine appendages and the head of a monkey plays the drums to "Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount", the 10th track on Aphex Twin's 2001 album drukqs. Monkey Drummer debuted as part of Cunningham's installation at the 49th International Exhibition of Art at the 2001 Venice Bienalle, which consisted of a loop of Monkey Drummer, Flex, and his video for Björk's "All Is Full of Love".[3] In 2008, an excerpt from Flex was shown in the Barbican's exhibition Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now curated by Martin Kemp, Marina Wallace and Joanne Bernstein. alongside other pieces by Bacon, Klimt, Rembrandt, Rodin and Picasso.[4] [edit] Short films In 2005, Cunningham released the short film Rubber Johnny as a DVD accompanied by a book of photographs and drawings. Rubber Johnny, a six-minute experimental short film cut to a soundtrack by Aphex Twin, remixed by Cunningham was shot between 2001 and 2004. Shot on DV night-vision, it was made in Cunningham's own time as a home movie of sorts, and took three and half years of weekends to complete. The Telegraph called it "like a Looney Tunes short for a generation raised on video nasties and rave music".[5] During this period Cunningham also made another short film for Warp Films, Spectral Musicians, which remains unreleased. The short film was edited to music by Squarepusher, My Fucking Sound, from the album Go Plastic and a piece called Mutilation Colony,[6] which was written especially for the short and was released on the EP Do You Know Squarepusher. [edit] Commercials Cunningham has directed a handful of commercials for companies including Gucci, PlayStation, Levis, Telecom Italia, Nissan and Orange. [edit] Music production In 2004/2005, Cunningham took a sabbatical from filmmaking to learn about music production and recording and develop his own music projects. In December 2007 Cunningham produced two tracks, "Three Decades" and "Primary Colours", for Primary Colours, the second album by The Horrors.[7] In the summer of 2008, due to scheduling conflicts with his feature film script writing he couldn't work on the rest of the album which was subsequently recorded by Geoff Barrow from Portishead. In 2008, he produced and arranged a new version of 'I Feel Love' for the Gucci commercial that he also directed. He travelled to Nashville to work with Donna Summer to record a brand new vocal for it.[8] [edit] Chris Cunningham Live In 2005, Cunningham played a 45 minute audio visual piece performed live in Tokyo and Osaka in front of 30,000+ fans over the two nights at Japan’s premier electronic music event Electraglide. These performances evolved into Chris Cunningham Live, a 55 minute long performance piece combining original and remixed music and film. It features remixed, unreleased and brand new videos and music dynamically edited together into a new live piece spread over three screens. The sound accompanying these images includes Cunningham’s first publicly performed compositions interspersed with his remixes of other artist’s work. Chris Cunningham Live debuted as one of the headline attractions at Warp 20 in Paris on May 8, 2009 with other performances scheduled at festivals in UK, and a number of European cities later in the year.