Peter Blum is pleased to announce the exhibition Chris Marker: Staring Back. This exhibition, opening on September 8, 2007, will be on view at Peter Blum Soho (99 Wooster Street) and Peter Blum Chelsea (526 West 29th Street).
Chris Marker: Staring Back is an exhibition of almost 200 photographs taken over the course of six decades by the enigmatic and influential French filmmaker. This show, organized by Bill Horrigan at the Wexner Center for the Arts, is the first exhibition of Marker’s photographs, and consists of images selected by the artist himself from his own archive, including black-and-white portraits of individuals that Marker has encountered during the course of his world travels.
Divided into four sections, Staring Back is organized around the idea of the faces Marker has seen in his travels, and of the faces that have in turn witnessed his observant gaze –“I stare” and “They stare,” as Marker puts it. Central to the exhibition are his depictions of political demonstrations from Algerian independence protests in 1962, to the Pentagon march in 1967, to May 1968 in Paris, and continuing to 2006 in a stunning series devoted to the sustained demonstrations by French young people against punitive employment legislation. Interspersed throughout the exhibition are photographic traces of his inimitable films, including La Jetée, Letter from Siberia, The Six Face of Pentagon, Cuba Si!, Le fond de l’air est rouge, Sans Soleil, and The Case of the Grinning Cat, among others. Although some of the portraits depict well-known individuals (such as Simone Signoret and Akira Kurosawa), most are of unidentified citizens to whom Marker and his camera were drawn in the course of his global progress through Asia, South America, Scandinavia, Africa, Russia, and elsewhere. The exhibition also includes a selection of photographs of animals.
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. 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, as in the boundary-breaking Sans Soleil. 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. Marker has also produced acclaimed media installations, including Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2005 and presented by Peter Blum at the Art Basel Unlimited in 2006, and Silent Movie, which the Wexner commissioned in 1995 through its residency program, and which subsequently traveled to over a dozen other venues internationally.