Serpentine Gallery

Jonas Mekas

05 Dec 2012 - 27 Jan 2013

Jonas Mekas
Photograph: Liz Wendelbo
© Jonas Mekas
BIRTH OF A NATION 1997, 16mm transferred to video, Each film approx. 20 min
THE FIRST FORTY 2006, 16mm film transferred to video, video Each film 5-12 min long
TO NEW YORK WITH LOVE 2009, Photographic prints of 16mm film frames 55.9 x 43.2 cm
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
IMAGES FROM PURGATORIO 2012 Williamsburg, Brooklyn 1949, Photographic prints of 16mm film frames 43.2 x 27.9 cm
LABORATORIUM ANTHOLOGY 2001, Video, 101 min
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES BANNER 1970, Fabric
LABORATORIUM ANTHOLOGY 2001, Video, 101 min
WTC HAIKUS 2010, 16mm film transferred to video, 14min 4sec
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
Jonas Mekas, To Petrarca 2009, Digital print on photographic paper on aluminium, Dimensions variable
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
DUMPLING PARTY 2012, Mixed media, Dimensions variable
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
WTC HAIKUS 2010, 16mm film transferred to video, 14min 4sec
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
WTC HAIKUS 2010 16mm film transferred to video 14min 4sec
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
WTC HAIKUS 2010, 16mm film transferred to video, 14min 4sec
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
IDYLLS OF SEMENISKIAI SEMENISKIU IDILES 2012, Mixed media Dimensions variable
Installation view, Jonas Mekas, Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
Installation view at Serpentine Gallery, London © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones
JONAS MEKAS
5 December 2012 - 27 January 2013

"I want to celebrate the small forms of cinema, the lyrical forms, the poem, the watercolour, etude, sketch, postcard, arabesque, bagatelle and little 8mm songs. I am standing in the middle of the information highway and laughing, because a butterfly on a little flower somewhere just fluttered its wings, and I know that the whole course of history will drastically change because of that flutter. A super-8 camera just made a little soft buzz somewhere, on New York's Lower East Side, and the world will never be the same" - Jonas Mekas

Film-maker, artist and poet Jonas Mekas (b.1922, Lithuania) is a leading figure of avant-garde and independent cinema.

The Serpentine is proud to present an exhibition of the artist's film, video and photographic works from throughout his remarkable and prolific sixty-year career. As part of the exhibition, Mekas is curating and hosting a very special evening event in the Gallery.

On his arrival in New York in 1949, Mekas bought his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of the world around him. He quickly became a central figure in the burgeoning arts community, alongside friends and collaborators such as Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol and film-makers Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren. A tireless champion of the independent and avant-garde film movements, he wrote the 'Movie Journal' column in Village Voice, set up and edited Film Culture magazine with his brother Adolfas, and founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative and Anthology Film Archives.

Mekas brings a poet's sensibility to the diary film style that permeates his work. His vision is unique in its ability to capture personal moments of beauty, celebration and joy. Developing his diaristic film style in the 1960s, he has become best known for his 'film diaries' in which he recorded, with great sensitivity, his day-to-day activities as well as those of his peers from the film and arts community in New York.

Mekas's work in turn has inspired many artists and film-makers to follow in his footsteps. Mike Figgis, Jim Jarmusch, Harmony Korine and Martin Scorsese, among many others, have cited Mekas as a key influence.

This exhibition surveys Mekas's work with moving images, poetry and sound, presenting a selection of film and video works dating from the 1950s through to the present day. The show includes the world premiere of Mekas's new featurelength film, presented as an immersive installation. Stills, film portraits of friends and family and ephemera also punctuate the Serpentine's spaces, offering a fascinating insight into Mekas's life and work.

Mekas's films and archive material have been exhibited extensively throughout the world, including at Documenta 11; the Venice Biennale 2005; the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA PS1, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Baltic Art Center, Sweden; and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.

Coinciding with the Serpentine Gallery exhibition, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and BFI Southbank, London, are each presenting a season of film and video work celebrating Mekas's contribution to cinema.
 

Tags: Kenneth Anger, Maya Deren, Allen Ginsberg, Harmony Korine, Jonas Mekas, Andy Warhol