John Akomfrah Selects

A stunning selection of films from the Arts Council England film collection, curated by John Akomfrah for ‘History is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain’ (Hayward Gallery, 10 February – 26 April 2015).

Between 1953 and 2003 ACE documented British arts and artists in an extensive series of innovative films. John Akomfrah’s selection brings back into focus these extraordinary films, many of which have been unseen for years, providing a glimpse into a range of intellectual, cultural and political transformations that shaped Britain in the second half of the 20th century. As well as tracing societal shifts, the films chart the development of the medium of film. Akomfrah has focused on examples in which an art form – be it painting, sculpture, dance or photography – has been challenged and expanded by its relationship with film. He has also included experimental films that can be considered artworks in their own right.

Read more Close
Watch for free

Francis Bacon: Paintings 1944-1962Francis Bacon: Paintings 1944-1962

Documentary196311 mins

David Thompson’s wordless film from 1963 presents an unsettling montage of images from Bacon’s major mid-period works.

Watch for free

Barbara Hepworth at the TateBarbara Hepworth at the Tate

Documentary196912 mins

A record of the famed sculptor’s 1968 Tate retrospective, accompanied by a fascinating narration by Hepworth herself.

Watch for free


Performance19955 mins

Katrina McPherson’s dance film intimately tracks the frenetic movements of a solo dancer, accompanied by an electronic score by Philip Jeck.

Watch for free

Jeff Keen FilmsJeff Keen Films

Documentary19830 mins

An aptly playful profile of the experimental filmmaker, introduced by Keen’s alter-ego Dr. Gaz.

Watch for free

Photomontage Today: Peter KennardPhotomontage Today: Peter Kennard

Documentary198335 mins

An analysis of the use of photomontage to distort meaning and create subversive and oppositional art, exemplified by the work of Peter Kennard.

Watch for free

Sign Is a Fine InvestmentSign Is a Fine Investment

Documentary198346 mins

This fascinating documentary charts the history of advertising from 1897 up to 1960 – as the era of the Mad Men took hold.

Watch for free

The Lacey RitualsThe Lacey Rituals

Animation & Artists Moving Image197263 mins

Performance artist Bruce Lacey’s singular take on the home movie, documenting the minutiae of family life from bath-time to toast-making.