Hermione: Kingdom of the Sick

by Andy Holden

Hermione | Sarah Cracknell
Narrator | Andy Holden

John Frank Black | Maryln Griggs |  Len Hollman | James Lynch | Daphne Mellor | John Sylvester 

Camera | Andy Holden,  Jarad Schiller

Sound Recording | Mira Calix

Editing | Ollie Dook, Andy Holden

3D Animation | Jack Davies, David Thatcher

VFX Effects | Ollie Dook

Additional Research | Tessa Norton, Maurice Nicholson

Film Score | Saint Etienne
Green Green Grass of Home Performed By The Grubby Mitts 

Filmed on location at Emmaus Village Carlton, Bedfordshire 

Supported by | NN Contemporary Art, Northampton &  British Art Show 9 / Hayward Gallery Touring

In Memory of Mira Calix 1970-2022
In 2017 artist Andy Holden came across a curious selection of eclectic paintings in a charity shop in his hometown of Bedford. The bold signature declared the artist’s name as, ‘Hermione’. Alongside the paintings was a copy of a self-published autobiography: Hermione Burton: A Journey Through the Paintings. The thin booklet contained Hermione’s story, which chronicled the major events of her life, including her struggle with ill health. Holden purchased all the paintings, as each appeared as if a frame from a film, feeling that if the paintings were not kept together her story would be lost.  

Holden’s subsequent turned these previously unseen paintings into the subject of his film, which slips between animated biopic, documentary and speculation. Through simple animation made with a combination of computer game software and motion capture, the film reanimates Hermione allowing her digital surrogate to narrate her story. Hermione’s voice and facial expressions are provided by Sarah Cracknell, singer with iconic British pop group Saint Etienne, and the band also provide an original soundtrack to the film. Using the names written on the reverse of a few canvases Holden tracked down some of those who had known this local, ‘outsider’ artist, and the film is intercut with revelatory interviews.

As the film unfolds Holden’s familiar, enquiring voice-over shifts the interpretation of Hermione’s paintings to within his own ongoing enquiries into differing experiences of time. When disrupted by sickness or grief our experience of time is ruptured and for Holden this becomes the unacknowledged subject of Hermione’s paintings. By rescuing and retelling Hermione’s story, the film tenderly asks how much a person can be understood through interpreting the work they left behind.