Over the last 19 years, David Gatten (b. 1971, Ann Arbor, Michigan) has explored the intersection of the printed word and moving image. His body of work illuminates a wide array of historical, conceptual and material concerns, while cataloging the variety of ways in which texts function in cinema as both language and image, often blurring the boundary between these categories. These movies measure the movement of desire across distance, and the manner in which words, books, letters and other written or printed communications might both produce and mediate that distance.
A 2005 Guggenheim Fellow, Gatten's flms premiere regularly at the New York Film Festival and have been included in multiple exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City (2002 and 2006 Biennials and "The American Century, Pt. II" in 2000). Since 1996 his flms have appeared in over 60 solo exhibitions and over 1000 group screenings. They are screened in film festivals and cinémathèques, as well as exhibited in museums, galleries and off-the-beaten-path spaces connected to both art and poetry communities. A recent Film Comment critics# poll of avant-garde cinema in the 2000's placed Gatten within the top ten filmmakers, and
included two of his films in a list of the fifty best individual works of the decade.
In May of 2012 an international critics poll conducted by Cinemascope named Gatten one of the "Fifty Best Filmmakers Under Fifty" and his latest major work, The Extravagant Shadows (2012) was ranked the No.9 film of 2012 in the Film Comment international critics poll of the "50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012."
Texts of Light: A Mid-Career Retrospective of Fourteen Films by David Gatten, opened in November of 2011 at the Wexner Center for the Arts, moving on, in 2012, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, MA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and ATA Gallery in San Francisco, CA; and RedCat, the Los Angeles Film Forum and The Panorama in Los Angeles, CA.
His work resides in the permanent collections of the British Film Institute, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as in numerous public and private collections. Gatten's films are included on over two dozen film history syllabi at universities and colleges in the US, Canada and Europe.