Artwork details

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
Video, color, sound
Duration: 37:14 min
Kenneth Anger

Courtesy of the artist.


Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 2007 - 2016
Kenneth Anger is a pioneer within the field of experimental film, and has exerted an influence on both Hollywood movies and the development of music videos. Anger was one of the modern day’s first openly homosexual directors, and is known for films that combine the surrealistic and flamboyant with the homoerotic, often with a dark, occult undertone. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome was filmed in 1954 and edited to produce different versions in 1966 and 1978. The Pleasure Dome of the title derived from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan, and the narrative was inspired by the religion Thelema, which was based on the occult philosophy of Aleister Crowley. The music is an important element in the film, and the original soundtrack, Glagolitic Mass, was written by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. In the 1966 version the Electric Light Orchestra’s album Eldorado provides the soundtrack of the film. The film displays a wide variety of characters, including a clown, a sphinx, a geisha and a frightening beast. The film was inspired by a Halloween party with the theme “Come as your Madness”. Due to the rapid and rhythmical editing the various faces almost vibrate on the screen in time with the music, often in several layers, so that the motif dissolves. 


Address: Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo

© Astrup Fearnley Museet