Baillie Walsh, film maker, on his house in Iceland
GB Tell me why you chose your house?
BW I chose my house because it is the most beautiful object and I love and adore it but the reason I think it’s so beautiful is obviously because of the setting. It’s about the landscape. But by the same token I think the juxtaposition of the two, the house itself and the contrast of the red against the blue and the green is incredibly striking. I love the simplicity of the house. It’s so basic that the simplicity of it is its beauty. It’s not pretentious in any way. But if you put the same house in a caravan park in Clacton I wouldn’t be picking it as my favourite object!
GB It’s a totally unspoiled landscape in your picture. Do you think in a way you chose it because it’s away from aesthetic choices, as in your work you have to think visually all the time?
BW Absolutely. That’s why I spend a lot of time there. Actually if you turn 180 degrees there is an aluminium factory about 19 miles away but I quite like that. In that sense it’s quite Derek Jarman, but it’s much more private than Dungeness. In Dungeness they’re a bit on top of each other, a small community, whereas this is much more about skies and landscape. It’s about being alone.
GB Did you paint the house that colour red?
BW Yes. I love the colour and it’s also a traditional colour. There are houses in Iceland painted that red, you don’t see many but they do paint their roofs different colours.
GB There’s so much beauty in your work. Is it something you consider a lot?
BW Yes. The reason I love the location of this house is the light. The light in Iceland is extraordinary. The beauty of light is very important in my work.
GB Do you think this consideration for beauty is more common in film than other art forms?
BW Yes it’s not unusual at all in film. It’s a language and you try not to be clichéd within that language. There’s a lot of cliché in beauty so you try to fight against that, to find a new and interesting way.
GB What makes something worthy of the word Beauty to you?
BW It’s such a subjective thing. I find great beauty everywhere from the skies of Iceland to the streets of London. I suppose it can be defined by my reaction to it. I can’t tell you why that reaction happens. Usually it’s seeing something fresh. You can get used to things and they don’t seem so beautiful any more. In Iceland every day the light is different so its constantly fascinating.