Super 8s from the 80s

Roxy Cinema presents Super 8s from the 80s, a selection of both documentary and narrative short films directed by artist Nicola Tyson. The films prominently feature Tyson and her longtime collaborator Bertie Marshall, known then as ‘Berlin,’ who had been a member of the seminal punk Bromley Contingent (1976-77), which spawned Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin and Billy Idol. Tyson and Marshall began collaborating artistically in 1980. Operating outside of the club scene of the time, they explored self-representation with gentle irony, salvaging found themes and clothes in intimate portraits of their London underground scene in the early 1980s.


Tyson’s Super 8s from the 80s revel in self-expression, absurdist experimentation, and unbridled deviance from mass-culture norms, carving out gender-queered, avant-garde Edens in friend’s flats, gardens, and even the streets of Paris. Part-documentary, part-reverie, Tyson’s films present a snapshot of London’s 80’s subcultures, sharing an attitude as committed to counter-aesthetics to alternative ways of being and making.


Sunday, May 19 – Discussion and Q&A with Nicola Tyson and Bertie Marshall following screening.


About the director:

Nicola Tyson was born and raised in London and studied art at Central Saint Martins in the 1980s. While pursuing her foundation courses in the late 1970s, Tyson frequented a small bar named Billy’s where she photographed the burgeoning New Romantic’s club scene. The scene’s flamboyant post-punk attitude has forever influenced the vibrant colors, fashion conscious composition and non-binary abstracted figuration in her paintings that she has become known for after relocating to New York City in the 1990s.

Tyson’s subject matter has always been infused with an imaginative feminism that can be described as finding her own voice emancipated from theory. In the early 1990s, she opened a women’s-only gallery, Trial BALLOON, that went on to launch the careers of Lutz Bacher and Nicole Eisenman. Her book of autobiographical missives to dead male artists, Dead Letter Men, emphasized her wry humor and feminist criticality to this day imbues her radical figuration. Tyson’s drawings and paintings show two sides of her practice. Her graphite works on paper are often completed in one sitting much like a surrealist automatic drawing. The paintings take on a slower approach. The artist lays down gesture in Zen-like strokes upon the canvas. Tyson’s dry-brush style (where the acrylic is applied slightly dry to create a specialized impasto) often show radiating energy that gives life to her solitary figures and botanicals.

Nicola Tyson’s paintings, drawings, and sculpture have been the subject of two survey exhibitions: Kunsthalle Zurich (1998) and The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2017). She is represented by Petzel, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles and Brussels.

You May Also Like

View All