Portrait of Eden

Gideon Koppel

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


21 minutes; colour; DVD;
Distributed by the British Film Institute
Public screenings : theatrical general release as a short
‘Eden’ is a 21 minute film portrait of Eden Kötting commissioned by Project Arts Works – a Hastings based visual arts organization and funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation with East Sussex County Council. Eden has a rare genetic disorder called Joubert Syndrome and is making a difficult transition from a world of childhood care to finding support from adult social services. This film is one output from Koppel’s ongoing collaborative research with Professor Theodore Zeldin of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford. John Berger writes in an essay on Portraiture (1969): 'It seems to me unlikely that any important portraits will ever be painted again... I can imagine multi-medium memento-sets devoted to the character of particular individuals. But these will have nothing to do with the works now in the National Portrait Gallery.' This research project asks whether it is possible to develop a new kind of portrait of a group or community - one which reflects the complexity of modern individuals, giving them the possibility of expressing what they want the world to know about them, their aims, ambitions and desires? The project was central to a conference – ‘A New Kind of Portraiture’ - held by Koppel and Zeldin at The National Portrait Gallery in 2009. This portrait of Eden is eclectic in its references but is particularly influenced by ‘A Portrait of Ga’ (1955) and ‘A Portrait of Hugh MacDairmid’ (Tait 1964), juxtaposed with the observational idiom of the ‘Direct Cinema’ of Wiseman. This continues Koppel’s research interests in the blurred boundaries between art and documentary – as Bill Nichols argues in ‘Documentary Film and the Modernist Avant-Garde’ (2001) 'The established story of documentary's beginnings continues to perpetuate a false division between the avant-garde and documentary that obscures their necessary proximity'.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUK theatrical distribution; DVD
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Media of outputDVD
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2011


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