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Peter Greenaway talks about 'The Last Supper,' Hendrick Goltzius and the death of cinema

December 15, 2010 |  9:00 am

Peter Greenaway, the polarizing British-born auteur, has never been a director to make concessions to popular taste. His movies -- including "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover," "The Pillow Book" and "Nightwatching" -- are densely constructed art-house objects that mix high aesthetic refinement with the sometimes messy functions of the human body.

On Wednesday evening, Greenaway is scheduled to appear at the Getty Center to talk about his latest project, called "Nine Classic Paintings Revisited." The multi-media endeavor seeks to shed new light on several masterpieces through the use of digital effects and multi-screen projections.

The project is currently having its U.S. debut at New York's Park Avenue Armory, where an installation inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" runs through early January. The installation features a multi-screen dissection of the well-known fresco using a life-size replica. It also includes a section devoted to Veronese's "The Wedding at Cana." (You can see clips from the installation in the video above.)

For those who have followed Greenaway's career over the years, the director's head-long dive into the realm of pure visual art should come as little surprise. His movies have always favored tableau-like compositions and an orgiastic use of color. For many years, he has also been heralding the death of traditional movies and moviegoing, calling it a "moribund activity."

Also on Greenaway's crowded plate is a multi-platform project devoted to the Baroque-era Dutch printmaker Hendrick Goltzius, which will include a feature film and hopefully a collaboration with the Getty Museum.

You can learn more about the Goltzius project and "The Last Supper" in our conversation with Greenaway.

-- David Ng

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