Fernsehgalerie Gerry Schum
Keith Arnatt
TV Project Self Burial
WDR 3rd Channel, 11-18/10/1969, each evening at 8.15 pm and 9.15 pm
Nine black and white photographs

Work Description
This television intervention is based upon a series of nine photos which progressively document as a sequence of images a purported “self burial”. The artist first stands centre frame upright on a piece of grass facing the viewers. The grassy area is bordered in the background by bushes. The following shots with unchanged picture composition show the artist buried ever further in the ground – first up to his calves, then to his knees, then thighs and so on – until the only thing which can be seen on the last picture is the hair on the top of his head at ground level. Arnatt changes his posture only minimally during this process; it is only the constantly growing, circular areas of loose soil surrounding his body which break up the static impression of the shots and suggest the burial process.
Every evening at 8.15 pm and 9.15 pm from 11 to 18 October 1969 scheduled programming abruptly cut to two pictures from this series; the second image broadcast at 9.15 pm was repeated the next day at 8.15 pm. The broadcast first lasted two and a half seconds and from 13 October they lasted four seconds. They were broadcast without any introduction or accompanying commentary. Only on the last day of the project did Arnatt explain his work in a feature in the culture magazine “Spectrum” which was filmed at the Kölner Kunstmarkt in 1969; during this feature the ninth picture in the series also faded up.

To mark this project the brochure “Keith Arnatt : TV Project Self Burial” appeared in the same year as Publication n°10 of Fernsehgalerie Gerry Schum. This brochure appeared in a print-run of 500 copies and it was financed by the collectors Gustav Adolf and Stella Baum and distributed by the Fernsehgalerie to interested parties free of charge. The brochure contained facsimiles of the TV schedules as well as montages where the nine photos were given a black cache.


(Quoted from the exhibition catalogue : “Ready to Shoot: Fernesehgalerie Gerry Schum / Videogalerie Schum", Ed. Snoeck, Cologne, October 2004, p.124 / organised by Kunsthalle Dusseldorf and curated by Ulrike Groos, Barbara Hess and Ursula Wevers)