“Quelle heure est-elle?”
May 16 – September 19, 2009
at Peter Blum Chelsea
Chris Marker: “Quelle heure est-elle?” comprises three different photographic series (Koreans, Crush-Art, QUELLE HEURE EST-ELLE?) as well as a grouping of photogravures, film posters, postcards and two video installations. The works range from 1957 to the present. Koreans is a grouping of 51 images that Chris Marker shot in 1957 when he was one of the few journalists who had the opportunity to travel and explore North Korea freely. The resulting photographs give an uncensored record of the daily life in North Korea four years after the end of the devastating war. In the recent series Crush-Art, Marker crumbles pages of magazines that depict women’s portraits and scans the crushed faces, creating ghost-like figures that challenge our understanding of time and beauty. In QUELLE HEURE EST-ELLE?, another current project, Marker captures images of innocent and stolen moments of women in the Paris subway.
Chris Marker has been making moving images for more than five decades, always working at the cutting edge of technology and aesthetics, ideology and form. The five channel video installation Silent Movie presents a highly personal response to the one-hundredth anniversary of the invention of cinema that Marker developed as recipient of the Wexner Center Residency Award in media arts for 1994-95.
The installation THE HOLLOW MEN, (2005) takes its starting point and its title from T.S. Eliot's 1925 poem "The Hollow Men," which reflected on the European wasteland that resulted from the First World War. This work was first shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2005. Both these installations question the linearity of narration and history.
Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France in 1921, Chris Marker is one of the most influential and important filmmakers to emerge in the post-war era, where he often worked collaboratively with, amongst others, Resnais and Godard. Marker appeared on the Paris cultural landscape as a writer and editor, winning admiration for the Petite Planète travel books he edited for Seuil beginning in 1954. Parallel to his written commentary, Marker also became identified for his uniquely expressive non-fiction films, eschewing traditional narrative technique and working from a deeply political vein. Marker began garnering international recognition in 1962 with the science-fiction short film La Jetée, a hugely influential story of nuclear experimentation and time travel. In the seventies Marker worked increasingly by himself creating documentaries both on the history of the left (Le Fond de l’air est rouge, 1977) and meditations on travel and memory (Sans Soleil, 1982). From 1952 to 2004, Marker has realized over 40 films.
Important parallel events: The Harvard Film Archive (http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/) will host a virtual event with Chris Marker titled THE SECOND LIFE OF CHRIS MARKER on May 16th, 2009 and Icarus Films Home Video (http://HomeVideo.IcarusFilms.com/ ) will release A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (Le Fond de l’Air est Rouge),the epic historical documentary on the worldwide political struggles of the Sixties and Seventies on May 5th, 2009.