Tomorrow is Saturday – Documentary about an Irish Artist with Asperger

REVIEW/NATION
by Maria Evd
27.03.2021
140 little figurines. Exactly 140. He counted. Enormous grandfather's clock that goes "tock-tick tock-tic" instead of "tick-tock tick-tock". Plastic toys and broken cables. Piles of unfinished work all over the place. Blank schedule planner with big "GET SHIT DONE" written across it. All of this – behind a small yellow "tomorrow is Saturday" sign on a battered door. The sign was on the door of his first studio at the time he was studying arts in London. Behind these doors, the conventional rules of reality stop working. Common concepts such as time, space and matter seem to be made of some unearthly material here, forming a different dimension, locked in a tiny two-storied den and controlled by the owner's fantasy solely. It seems like he accidentally placed himself in the middle of one of his surreal collages that deny every single bit of the ordinary. Physically being in Ireland, he dwells in Irelantis – a dreamlike world he created in his artworks.
Who is he? Sean Hillen. An artist with Asperger, "a collagist" as he calls himself, living on disability benefit in a place that is the embodiment of the mess. He was born in 1961 at the time of "The Troubles" – a military conflict in Northern Ireland that had initially become the basis of his art. A scared teen, raised in love and tenderness, hiding behind his camera lens from the ruthless, cruel reality of Ireland, at war he was. He knew the photos wouldn't get published so he started rearranging them, combining with other pictures – and that's how he finally came up with his own unique style: a combination of his photos, postcards, posters figures and out-of-this-world images creating a complex and bizarre image bore its fruit, being published on the books and magazine covers. However, at one point everything went wrong: associated with the military conflict, Sean got left behind at the peaceful times. This is where the documentary picks him up – selling his original pieces on the market next to the fruits and vegetable stalls, he lives in his tiny hoarded house, struggling desperately with money, Asperger and not being able to work anymore.

The documentary follows Sean's journey towards artistic resurrection. Along the way, he finally declutters his studio, sorts out the stuff that he was piling up for years, meets Amy – an artist from Chicago with whom he had a genuine connection, and goes from stagnation and inability to create new art to getting a second wind. The documentary is vivid, flighty, sometimes chaotic – just like Sean himself. The narrative, camerawork and sound correspond to Sean's way of thinking – "butterfly mind" he calls it. The thoughts fly from one object to another, rarely focusing on anything solid, preferring to look for some abstract matters.
Something like clouds, Sean is deeply interested in them, he has a massive collection of photos depicting the sky. A bit of an irrational interest for a man struggling to pay his electricity bills, isn't it? Well, that's what Sean Hillen is.
The documentary somehow manages to be an immersive experience for those who watch it. Getting deeper and deeper into Sean's life you feel like entering someone's dream – so insubstantial and far from reality, so fragile and unstable. One unintentional reminder about the existence of the other, solid world – and it's gone. Whatever happens on screen – you always have that feeling of being invited to the accidentally created small universe weaved of fleeting thoughts, chaotic fantasies and haphazard images. It just feels so surreal: Christmas lights in the windows in autumn, the little yellow sign, emerald green grass and graffiti wall, big still lake and whirring chaotic thoughts, pied postcards, plastic figurines, clouds factories and in the center of all – a small man in an orange scarf and round glasses. Somehow it all really works – I guess patchwork quilts work the same way, uniting hundreds of little pieces into unique ornament.
Tomorrow is Saturday (2020) is a truly mesmerizing experience, it makes you forget about it being real and at one point you find yourself irrevocably attracted to a bewitching daydream of a small man in an orange scarf.
 
Tomorrow is Saturday – Documentary about an Irish Artist with Asperger

REVIEW/NATION
by Maria Evd
27.03.2021
140 little figurines. Exactly 140. He counted. Enormous grandfather's clock that goes "tock-tick tock-tic" instead of "tick-tock tick-tock". Plastic toys and broken cables. Piles of unfinished work all over the place. Blank schedule planner with big "GET SHIT DONE" written across it. All of this – behind a small yellow "tomorrow is Saturday" sign on a battered door. The sign was on the door of his first studio at the time he was studying arts in London. Behind these doors, the conventional rules of reality stop working. Common concepts such as time, space and matter seem to be made of some unearthly material here, forming a different dimension, locked in a tiny two-storied den and controlled by the owner's fantasy solely. It seems like he accidentally placed himself in the middle of one of his surreal collages that deny every single bit of the ordinary. Physically being in Ireland, he dwells in Irelantis – a dreamlike world he created in his artworks.
Who is he? Sean Hillen. An artist with Asperger, "a collagist" as he calls himself, living on disability benefit in a place that is the embodiment of the mess. He was born in 1961 at the time of "The Troubles" – a military conflict in Northern Ireland that had initially become the basis of his art. A scared teen, raised in love and tenderness, hiding behind his camera lens from the ruthless, cruel reality of Ireland, at war he was. He knew the photos wouldn't get published so he started rearranging them, combining with other pictures – and that's how he finally came up with his own unique style: a combination of his photos, postcards, posters figures and out-of-this-world images creating a complex and bizarre image bore its fruit, being published on the books and magazine covers. However, at one point everything went wrong: associated with the military conflict, Sean got left behind at the peaceful times. This is where the documentary picks him up – selling his original pieces on the market next to the fruits and vegetable stalls, he lives in his tiny hoarded house, struggling desperately with money, Asperger and not being able to work anymore.

The documentary follows Sean's journey towards artistic resurrection. Along the way, he finally declutters his studio, sorts out the stuff that he was piling up for years, meets Amy – an artist from Chicago with whom he had a genuine connection, and goes from stagnation and inability to create new art to getting a second wind. The documentary is vivid, flighty, sometimes chaotic – just like Sean himself. The narrative, camerawork and sound correspond to Sean's way of thinking – "butterfly mind" he calls it. The thoughts fly from one object to another, rarely focusing on anything solid, preferring to look for some abstract matters.
Something like clouds, Sean is deeply interested in them, he has a massive collection of photos depicting the sky. A bit of an irrational interest for a man struggling to pay his electricity bills, isn't it? Well, that's what Sean Hillen is.

The documentary somehow manages to be an immersive experience for those who watch it. Getting deeper and deeper into Sean's life you feel like entering someone's dream – so insubstantial and far from reality, so fragile and unstable. One unintentional reminder about the existence of the other, solid world – and it's gone. Whatever happens on screen – you always have that feeling of being invited to the accidentally created small universe weaved of fleeting thoughts, chaotic fantasies and haphazard images. It just feels so surreal: Christmas lights in the windows in autumn, the little yellow sign, emerald green grass and graffiti wall, big still lake and whirring chaotic thoughts, pied postcards, plastic figurines, clouds factories and in the center of all – a small man in an orange scarf and round glasses. Somehow it all really works – I guess patchwork quilts work the same way, uniting hundreds of little pieces into unique ornament.
Tomorrow is Saturday (2020) is a truly mesmerizing experience, it makes you forget about it being real and at one point you find yourself irrevocably attracted to a bewitching daydream of a small man in an orange scarf.
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