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THE IMPERSONATION

UK, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Christopher Mason, Noel Burch

The term 'primitive' as applied to painting has come to be viewed with great suspicion. Its application to pre-Renaissance painting or the art of Africa, Asia etc, has been challenged by modernism and anthropology. The only form of art that is still called primitive exists, ironically, on the margins of western culture. This is the little known area in which The Impersonation is set, the world of the untaught artist, the Sunday painter, of art produced without the benefit of art school training. Since it first became known in 1974, the signature of the contemporary English 'primitive' painter, Reginald Pepper, has been gaining prominence amongst cogniscenti and collectors who felt they had found that rare bird, the truly gifted Sunday painter. It was therefore not without some emotion that specialists in primitive art learned from an article in the "Sunday Times" that there were doubts about the authenticity of the paintings. From this starting point Noel Burch and Christopher Mason able to piece together something of the story.

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