Category Archives: Press Releases

Chris Marker Exhibition Opens in Oslo

Chris Marker TBD

Kunstnernes Hus Chris Marker Exhibition

Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat

31 October 2014 – 11 January 2015

Opening Friday, 31 October 2014, 7pm.

Opening speech by Christine Van Assche, Curator at Large at Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Artistic Director, Mats Stjernstedt

Guided tour in the exhibition on Saturday, 1 November, 2 pm, by Christine Van Assche and Mats Stjernstedt

Kunstnernes Hus presents the first Scandinavian retrospective of visionary French filmmaker, photographer, writer and multimedia artist Chris Marker (1921 – 2012). His films lace realism with science fiction and lyricism with politics. Changing his name, declining to be photographed or interviewed, Marker is both enigma and legend. His influence extends across art, experimental film and mainstream cinema.

Marker is widely acknowledged as the finest exponent of the essay film and is known as the director of over 60 films, including Sans soleil (Sunless, 1983) and A Grin Without a Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge, 1977). His most celebrated work La Jetée (The Pier, 1962) imagines a Paris devastated by nuclear catastrophe and is composed almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, which informed the narrative of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995).

Marker was an inveterate traveler – his camera was his eye. His astonishing range of images can encompass a temple in Tokyo devoted to cats, to frozen flowers in a Siberian science station. Marker pictures our cultural rituals, ancient and modern – visiting a shrine, playing videogames, protesting on the streets. He splices his images with found footage, including fragments of movies, cartoons, ads, and news reels. Musical scores are interwoven with the noises of everyday life; haunting commentaries are narrated as if from the future, meditating on history and memory.

Darkness also underlines Marker’s portrayal of planetary cultures – memories of war ravaged France, the brutalities of colonialism, the failures of revolution.

A Grin Without a Cat is co-curated by Christine Van Assche, Curator at Large, Centre Pompidou, Paris, writer and film critic Chris Darke, and Magnus af Petersens, Curator at Large, Whitechapel Gallery/Curator, Moderna Museet. The exhibition tours to Lund Konsthall in 2015.

The exhibition is organized by Whitechapel Gallery.
Kunstnernes Hus

Kunsternes Hus

Kunstnernes Hus er en av Norges vakreste bygninger og et av de tidligste eksempel på norsk funksjonalisme. Huset har en spennende historie som et sentralt visningssted for norsk og internasjonal samtidskunst. Foruten faste utstillinger og en flott matservering med utsikt over Slottsparken kan vi tilby ulike arrangement både på dag- og kveldstid.

The Kunsternes Hus (Artists’ House) is one of Norway’s most beautiful buildings, and one of the earliest example of Norwegian functionalism. The House has an interesting history as a central viewing place for Norwegian and international contemporary art. In addition to permanent exhibitions and great on-site dining facilities with views of the Palace Gardens, we can offer various events both on the day and evening time.

Peter Blum Presents Chris Marker ‘Koreans’

Chris Marker Koreans at Peter Blum Gallery

Blumarts Inc. 20 West 57th Street | | New York, NY 10019 | Tel 212 244 6055

For Immediate Release:

Chris Marker : Koreans

September 4 — October 18, 2014

Peter Blum is pleased to announce the exhibition Chris Marker: Koreans, which opens on September 4th at 20 West 57th Street, New York.

Chris Marker was one of the last journalists who had the unique opportunity to travel and explore North Korea freely in 1957. The result of these travels was a group of 51 photographs entitled Koreans. This series reflects an uncensored record of daily life in North Korea four years after the end of the devastating war and shortly before the border was closed off.

The essay herewith attached was written by Marker in 2009 conveying his thoughts and observations of this trip to North Korea.

Peter Blum Gallery Koreans Chris Marker

Chris Marker (1921-2012) 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 and also became identified for his uniquely expressive non-fiction films. Marker garnered international recognition in 1962 with the science-fiction short film La Jetée. In the seventies, Marker created documentaries both on the history of the left (Le Fond de l’air est rouge, 1977) and travel and memory (Sans Soleil, 1982). Marker 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 Art Basel Unlimited in 2006, and Silent Movie, 1995. Selected solo exhibitions include: the Whitechapel Gallery, London (retrospective); MIT List Visual Arts Center and Carpenter Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (retrospective); The Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (retrospective); Atelier Hermès, Seoul; Les Rencontres d’Arles de la Photographie, Arles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; The Jeu de Paume, Paris; The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; and Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona.

For additional information and photographic material please contact David Blum or Andrea Serbonich at

Chris Marker @ Peter Blum Gallery NYC, Koreans

In 1957, I had the opportunity to join a group of French journalists “invited” to visit North Korea. I would only realize later what a unique opportunity that was. The four years following the war (a conflict soberly described by General Bradley as the “wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy”) had been dedicated mostly to rebuilding a bomb-stricken country, and the formidable propaganda machine that would soon be identified with the sheer mention of North Korea wasn’t yet running at full throttle. We were subjected to a sizable dose of propaganda, but between two obligatory sessions of Socialist kowtowing, our hosts allowed us an amount of free walking unequalled since. Many years later, I could contemplate on television the predicament of a Belgian delegation whose members supplicated their guide to see, at least once, a marketplace -and after having visited the museum in honor of comrade Kim Jong-il, the library with the complete works of comrade Kim Jong-il, the factory that followed the directives of comrade Kim Jong-il, they were finally taken to an empty space outside the city, where a marketplace would be established according to the plans of comrade Kim Jong-il. Watching the image of hopelessness on the faces of the poor wretches made me appreciate even more the liberty I had enjoyed to hang around Pyongyang with my camera and to look everywhere, including marketplaces. Amusingly, the result of those strolls was equally rejected on both sides of the 38th parallel. To the North, a book which never mentioned once the name of Kim Il-sung simply didn’t exist. To the South, the raw fact that it had been allowed to be done in North Korea made it a tool of communist propaganda. That’s how, I was told, it was exhibited in Seoul’s counter-revolutionary museum, and its author introduced as a “Marxist dog”. I didn’t mind. Since Snoopy, the word “dog” has ceased to be an insult in my cats-ruled world. Then Time froze on that country whose culture had fascinated me, as well as the mesmerizing beauty of its women, while the megalomaniac leadership of both Kims had proven a disaster. Many examples of that freeze would appear in the news, the most recent so incredible that it escaped many commentators. When the DPRK (that’s its official name) launched the famous rocket that worried the whole world, the KOREAN NEWS agency published the following communiqué : “The Secretariat of the C.C., the Communist Party of the Soviet Union fully supports the steadfast stand of the Workers’ Party of Korea led by General Secretary Kim Jong Il”. Yes, you read correctly : “Soviet Union”. In 2009. Perhaps nobody ever dared to update comrade Kim Jong-il.
Chris Marker, 2009

Wall, Peter Blum Gallery, New York, Chris Marker Koreans

Installation Views Courtesy of Peter Blum Gallery, New York
Works Courtesy of the Chris Marker Estate and Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Chris Marker Whitechapel Retrospective – Press Release

Post updated 4.30.14 with exhibition photographs

Chris Marker

16 April – 22 June 2014, Galleries 1, 8 & Victor Petitgas Gallery (Gallery 9)

Admission Free

whitechapel-thehappinessgirlThe Whitechapel Gallery presents the first UK retrospective of visionary French filmmaker, photographer, writer and multimedia artist Chris Marker (1921 – 2012).

Marker is widely acknowledged as the finest exponent of the ‘essay film’ and is best known as the director of over 60 films including Sans soleil (Sunless, 1983) and A Grin Without a Cat (Le Fond de l’air est rouge, 1977). His most celebrated work La Jetée (The Pier, 1962) imagines a Paris devastated by nuclear catastrophe and is composed almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, which informed the narrative of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) and influenced James Cameron’s Terminator (1984).

The Whitechapel Gallery will be filled with Chris Marker’s extraordinary films and photographs. Highlights include all five of Marker’s multi-media installations shown together for the first time, rarely seen photographs, and a newly re-mastered edition of Le Joli Mai (1963), which romantically describes Paris via interviews with people in the street, interspersed with a commentary ranging from the number of hours of sunshine in May to the amount of meat and potatoes eaten by the city’s population each month.

The exhibition follows key themes in Marker’s work: the Museum, Travel, Image & Text, and War & Revolution. The first space will be saturated with colour and dominated by two huge screens, cinema spaces and photographs. Visitors entering the Gallery will see a large projection of Ouvroir: the Movie (2010), Marker’s guided tour of the virtual museum he created on the website Second Life via his online avatar, a cat called Guillame-en-Eqypte, along with films and multi-media installations.

The next section presents the people and places Chris Marker encountered on his lifetime of travels, with an extract from the iconic film Sans soleil (1983), which reflects on memory, images and technology and is told via letters from an anonymous woman to a cameraman, with shots flitting back and forth across the world from Japan to Guinea-Bissau in Africa. This part of the display also includes Petite Planète (1954 – 58), a series of books by Marker with texts, illustrations, graphics and photographs of countries which inspired his first ‘photo essays’, plus the UK premiere of multi-media installation Zapping Zone (Proposal for an Imaginary Television, 1990 – 94).

A rare version of Chris Marker’s masterpiece La Jetée (1962) with an alternative opening sequence is shown in a dedicated gallery. The exhibition continues with a section looking at the theme of war and revolution, engaging with anti-war movements from the Vietnam War in the 1960s to the Iraq War in 2003. It includes extracts from two films shot in Paris, Le Joli Mai (1963), relating to the Algerian War of Independence in the 1950s and 60s and Chats Perchés (The Case of the Grinning Cat, 2004), where Marker interviews anonymous passersby to record their everyday life. Other works are the photographic series Staring back (1952 – 2006) and installation OWLS AT NOON Prelude: The Hollow Men (2005) which is based on a T.S. Eliot poem. The exhibition ends with one of Marker’s most political films about the failure of idealistic social movements and revolutions in the 1960s, Le fond de l’air est rouge (1977) which was reedited and released as A Grin without a Cat in 1993.


Owls at Noon

This important exhibition looks at Marker’s prolific career and considers his influence on contemporary British art and artists. Alongside the show, film screenings will take place at the Gallery, with work by filmmakers Duncan Campbell, Filipa Cesar and Manu Luksch, the Barbican and Ciné Lumière at the Institut Français. Talks addressing the themes of the exhibition are made in collaboration with Roehampton University and the AHRC-funded research project The Memory Network.


  • Chris Marker (1921 – 2012), born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve in Paris, was a prescient multi-media filmmaker, exploring the future through both digital art and via his numerous online avatars on websites such as Second Life. He was also a writer, editor, poet, cartoonist, and activist. Marker completed his first feature film Olympia 52 in 1952 and went on to direct over 60 films. Notoriously reclusive, he rarely gave interviews and refused to be photographed. A friend recalled that his Paris apartment had several televisions switched on, one with a direct satellite feed from Russia, and late in life he had glasses with a miniature camera so he could ride the Metro and photograph people. A great lover of cats, when asked for a photograph of himself he would send a picture of a cat. In his later life he adopted the online persona of an orange-and-black cartoon cat named ‘Guillaume-en-Egypte’. Chris Marker has been the subject of many solo exhibitions around the world, including Chris Marker: Retrospective at the Rencontres d’Arles de la Photographie, France (2011), Planète Marker, Centre Pompidou (2013), and Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Egypte, MIT/Harvard (2013). The Whitechapel Gallery presentation is the first retrospective of his work in the UK.
  • Chris Marker is co-curated by Christine van Assche, Chief Curator, Centre Pompidou, Paris, writer and film critic Chris Darke, and Whitechapel Gallery Chief Curator Magnus Af Petersens.
  • Chris Marker will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. It includes key essays by the curators; texts by critics Raymond Bellour and Arnaud Lambert; plus the first English translations of two key early writings by Marker, an essay on Jean Cocteau’s film Orphée (1950) and his short story Till the End of Time (1947), which takes place the day after VJ day amidst a torrential rainstorm and features a demobilised soldier subject to apocalyptic visions, anticipating Marker’s most famous film, La Jetée (1962).

Visitor Information

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm, Thursdays, 11am – 9pm. Free.
Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX. Nearest London Underground Station: Aldgate East, Liverpool Street, Tower Gateway
DLR. T + 44 (0) 20 7522 7888

Press Information

For further press information and images please contact:
Rachel Mapplebeck, Head of Communications, on 0207 522 7880 or email
Alex O’Neill, Press Officer, on 020 7539 3360 or email

Exhibition Photos

Courtesy Christine van Assche

Whitechapel Photo by Christine van Assche

Whitechapel Photo by Christine van Assche

Whitechapel Photo by Christine van Assche

Whitechapel Photo by Christine van Assche

Whitechapel Photo by Christine van Assche

Marker Retrospective @ Whitechapel

jeteefinaleThe Whitechapel Gallery on High Street in London has announced the following Chris Marker retrospective:

Chris Marker 16 April – 22 June 2014, Galleries 1, 8 & Victor Petitgas Gallery (Gallery 9). Visionary French filmmaker, photographer, writer and artist Chris Marker (1921 – 2012) is widely acknowledged as the finest exponent of the ‘essay film’. He is best known as the director of over 50 films including Sans soleil (Sunless , 1983), A Grin Without a Cat (1977) and for his most influential work La Jetée (The Pier, 1962), imagining a Paris devastated by nuclear catastrophe and composed almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs, which later informed the narrative of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995). He was a prescient multi-media maker, exploring the future through both digital art and via his numerous online avatars. This important exhibition – his first UK retrospective – looks at Marker’s prolific career and considers his influence on contemporary British art and artists. Curated by Chris Darke and Christine van Assche.

Thanks to Chris Darke, I now have a pdf focused on the retrospective that goes into a lot more detail. So I’ll be updating this post again to reflect that; in the meantime, here’s a link:
The Press Release PDF is here.

About Whitechapel Gallery

Designed in a distinctive Arts and Crafts architecture style by Charles Harrison Townsend, the Whitechapel, Britain’s first purpose-built arts gallery, is renowned both for the beauty of its light, airy space and for embracing the local community in its work. Founded in 1901, extensive refurbishment saw the gallery, reopened in April 2009, double in size.


Planète Marker Coming to Centre Pompidou

About Raymond Bellour

Centre PompidouThe introduction to Chris Marker for the Planète Marker exhibition & film screenings opening on October 16th at the Centre Pompidou, reprinted below, bears the signature of Raymond Bellour—in my opinion the greatest commentator on Marker, and certainly among the most innovative film theorists of our time. Bellour is the co-author, with Laurent Roth, of the excellent book Qu’est-ce qu’une Madeleine?: A propos du CD-ROM Immemory de Chris Marker. Bellour is also the co-author, with Adrian Martin, of Chris Marker: Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men.

The English version of the Petite Planète essay is followed by the original French version. I’ve also uploaded a large image of the book covers poster (produced by Wexner Center for the Arts) of the Petite Planète series Marker edited at Seuil, from which this exhibition finds its title, as Bellour notes.

Bellour’s essential work on cinema, video, corporeality, self-portrait and the essay form continually draws on Marker’s work and that of Gilles Deleuze for inspiration, and can be found in the following extraordinary books that form a kind of trilogy of deep cinematic investigation and conceptual artistry:

  1. Bellour, Raymond. L’Entre-Images. Photo. Cinéma. Vidéo. Paris: La Différence, 1990.
  2. Bellour, Raymond. L’Entre-Images 2: Mots, Images. Paris P.O.L, 1999.
  3. Bellour, Raymond. Le Corps du Cinéma: hypnoses, émotions, animalités. Paris: P.O.L., 2009.

Thankfully, L’Entre-images has at long last been translated to English. It is due to come out on in two weeks, on the 15th of October. Here’s the Amazon link for Between the Images, published by JRP|Ringier. A Spanish translation is also available.

Special thanks to Etienne Sandrin for sending the press materials our way.


The ‘Planète Marker’

Exposition Website:…
Exposition Brochure Download (PDF): Chris_Marker_Planète-Marker-Pompidou.pdf

Curation: DDC / Les cinémas, S. Pras, MnamCci / Nouveaux médias, C. Van Assche, BPI / Comprendre, A. Alliguié
Programming: Judith Revault d’Allones, Etienne Sandrin, Florence Verdeille

Update: Dossier pédagogique Planète Marker:

16 October 2013 – 16 December 2013
from 11h00 to 21h00
Foyer – Centre Pompidou, Paris


By Raymond Bellour, film writer and theoretician

The Centre Pompidou and the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information (BPI) are paying tribute to Chris Marker, not only through his films, it goes without saying, but also by exploring the path of his inspirations, friendships and encounters. At the heart of this journey, the exhibition includes installations and multimedia works from the Centre Pompidou collection, together with his films and videos, and a reading room at the BPI.

Raymond Bellour takes us through the ‘Planète Marker’ :

‘There are ‘century-class men’ and ‘world-class men’ – and Chris Marker was one of them. He was born in 1921, shortly after the First World War, ‘the founding moment of the last century, and its source’ (he devoted his 2005 video installation The Hollow Men to it), and was very much involved in the Second, starting off as a member of the Resistance, then enlisting in the American army. Chris Marker lived in a world haunted by the fear of a Third World War, which he looks forward to in his most famous film, La Jetée, the first film composed (almost) solely of still images, haunted by phantoms of the world of concentration camps.

Chris Marker was a photographer throughout his life, and started out as a poet, novelist, essayist, literary/ film critic and editor at the Éditions du Seuil, where he invented the Petite Planète illustrated critical guide collection. He became a film-maker in the early Fifties with a film on the Helsinki Olympic Games, and collaborated with Alain Resnais for Les statues meurent aussi, a documentary essay on Black Art and colonialism long banned by the censor. Marker went on to make at least fifty films in all formats: feature-length, short, very short, and very long. And under various pseudonyms, or more or less anonymously, he generously contributed to many other films by friends and colleagues. All his films have a constant political commitment in common, a tireless, encyclopaedic curiosity for all forms of reality and culture, and an unfailing love of animals, especially cats. He turned his cat, Guillaume-en-Égypte, into an avatar who served as his spokesman, from the creation of his CD-Rom Immemory, 1997-1998, right up to the virtual archipelago he later invented for himself in ‘Second Life’.

But above all, to construct his films, Chris Marker came up with a unique way of relating the texts he ceaselessly wrote with the images he collected throughout the world – both images shot from life and excerpts from multiple archives. André Bazin, in his commentary on Lettre de Sibérie (1957), called this ‘horizontal editing’ in order to describe the way he felt Marker edited his images: not shot-by-shot so much as ‘laterally, in a way, to what is being said about them’. The result was an inseparable meld: a primordial condition for this form of subjective essay. Marker was one of the great inventors of this genre – perhaps the greatest, continually subjecting the documentary approach to the fictional part that enabled him to develop his thread, while always talking to the ‘other’ – his virtual reader/viewer – as though to a fully alive being.


Henri Michaux

Two descriptions seem to truly pinpoint this singular identity called Chris Marker (originally Christian-François Bouche-Villeneuve). The first is so legendary that its precise reference is lost. It comes from Henri Michaux, the writer to whom Marker was probably the closest; in fact his work is sprinkled with signs that he borrowed from him in a more or less recognisable manner. Michaux was also the model for Marker’s legendary discretion, and his concern to preserve himself as much as was humanly possible from any kind of publicity, and any consent to the media society. Michaux said, ‘The Sorbonne should be pulled down and Chris Marker set up in its place.’ The suggestion here is, for example, that L’Héritage de la chouette, Marker’s television series of thirteen 26-minute episodes on the culture of Ancient Greece, should feature on the curriculum of all French schools. The second description comes from Alain Resnais, in an interview in (almost) the first special issue of a review dedicated to Marker in 1963. Resnais attributed to a Chris Marker apparently little satisfied with the idea of the review the words he imagined he would use to evade any kind of obligation: ‘… I am a free man, and I only want to do what I like.’ But, emphasising how much he felt his friend’s work should be studied, Resnais said at the end of the interview: ‘We talk about the Leonardo da Vinci method; perhaps we shall soon be talking about the Chris Marker method. I would even go as far as to say that Marker is superior to Leonardo, because Marker always follows everything he starts right through.’

This stresses the unique character as well as the importance of his work, which became evident very early on, and which went on developing according to an essentially exploratory curiosity, as history turned up yet another surprise. And he was always right up to date with the technological changes that could cause shifts in an endlessly reinvented relationship between words and images. With books albums, photos, films, videos, installations, CD-Roms and the Internet, Marker’s work continually explored every medium, inspiring an ever-increasing number of film directors and artists all over the world – up until his sudden death, barely a year ago, on the day he reached 91. So this is everything the ‘Planète Marker’ event would like to celebrate, faithful to the spirit of the book collection through which he once helped to transform French publishing.’

Planète Marker


16 octobre 2013 – 16 décembre 2013
de 11h00 à 21h00
Foyer – Centre Pompidou, Paris

Exposition Forum – 1 (commissaire; C Van Assche)
Salon de lecture (Bibilothèque. 1er étage. Arlette Aliguié et Florence Verdeille).
Ensuite un programme rétrospective de films et vidéos programmée par Sylvie Pras, avec Judith Revault d’Allonnes, Etienne Sandrin, Florence Verdeille.
L’exposition est jusqu’au 16 décembre, le programme jusqu’au 20 décembre.

Entrée libre / Dans la mesure des places disponibles

Par Raymond Bellour, écrivain et théoricien de cinéma

Le Centre Pompidou et la Bibliothèque publique d’information (Bpi) rendent hommage à Chris Marker, à travers ses films bien sûr mais aussi en suivant la piste de ses inspirations, de ses amitiés et de ses rencontres… Au coeur de ce voyage, l’exposition de ses installations et des oeuvres multimédias rassemblées dans la collection du Centre Pompidou, ses films et vidéos et un salon de lecture à la Bpi.

Raymond Bellour parcourt pour nous la Planète Marker :

« Il y a des hommes-siècles, des hommes-mondes. Chris Marker fut un de ces hommes. Né en 1921, peu après la Première Guerre mondiale, « le moment fondateur du siècle dernier, sa source » (il lui consacrera en 2005 son installation vidéo The Hollow Men), pleinement acteur de la Seconde (résistant, puis engagé dans l’armée américaine), Chris Marker aura vécu dans la hantise de la Troisième Guerre mondiale dont il a projeté l’image dans son film le plus célèbre, La Jetée, le premier film sans doute composé (quasi) uniquement d’images fixes, hanté par les fantômes de l’univers concentrationnaire.

Photographe sa vie durant, et d’abord écrivain, poète, romancier, essayiste, critique (littéraire et cinématographique), directeur éditorial au Seuil où il invente la collection de guides critiques illustrés « Petite Planète », Chris Marker devint cinéaste au début des années 1950 avec un film sur les Jeux olympiques d’Helsinki et en collaborant avec Alain Resnais pour Les statues meurent aussi, essai documentaire sur l’art nègre et le colonialisme, longtemps interdit par la censure. Depuis, Marker a réalisé une cinquantaine de films au moins, de tous formats, des longs, des courts, des très courts, des très longs. Et il a collaboré amicalement, sous divers pseudonymes comme plus ou moins anonymement, à un nombre considérable d’autres films de divers amis et complices. Tous ses films ont en commun un engagement politique constant ; une curiosité encyclopédique inlassable pour toutes les formes de la réalité et de la culture ; un amour indéfectible des animaux et avant tout des chats (il a ainsi transfiguré son chat, Guillaume-en-Égypte, en un intercesseur qui lui sert de porte-parole depuis la création de son CDRom Immemory, 1997-1998, et jusque dans l’archipel virtuel qu’il s’est plus tard aménagé sur « Second Life »).

Mais, surtout, Chris Marker a inventé une façon unique de rapporter les textes qu’il ne cesse d’écrire pour ses films aux images qu’il a recueillies à travers le monde afin de les construire (images captées dans la réalité aussi bien qu’extraites de multiples archives). C’est ce qu’André Bazin, commentant Lettre de Sibérie (1957), appelait « montage horizontal » afin de saisir la façon dont Marker lui semblait monter ses images, plus que de plan à plan, « latéralement en quelque sorte à ce qui en est dit ». De sorte à créer un mixte indissociable, condition primordiale de cette forme de l’essai subjectif dont Marker a été l’un des grands inventeurs, peut-être le plus grand, soumettant ainsi continuellement la réflexion documentaire à la part de fiction qui lui permet de s’élaborer en toujours s’adressant à l’autre, son lecteur-spectateur virtuel, comme à un être pleinement vivant.


Chris Marker, still from Wim Wenders’ Tokyo-Ga, Zone-ified

Deux formulations semblent cerner au mieux cette identité singulière qui a nom Chris Marker (ainsi s’est transformé son nom de Christian-François Bouche-Villeneuve). La première est devenue mythique au point que sa référence précise fait défaut. Elle est due à Henri Michaux, l’écrivain dont Marker a sans doute été le plus proche, tant son oeuvre est parsemée de signes qu’il lui emprunte de façon plus ou moins reconnaissable. Michaux a aussi été son modèle pour sa discrétion légendaire, son souci de se préserver autant qu’il est humainement possible de toute forme de publicité et de consentement à la société médiatique. Michaux disait ainsi : « Il faudrait raser la Sorbonne et mettre Chris Marker à la place ». C’est supposer par exemple que L’Héritage de la chouette, série télévisée de 13 fois 26 minutes consacrée par Marker à la culture de la Grèce antique, devrait figurer au programme de toutes les écoles de France. La seconde formulation est due à Alain Resnais, dans un entretien figurant dans le (presque) premier numéro spécial de revue consacré à Marker en 1963. Resnais lui prêtait, apparemment peu satisfait de l’idée, les mots par lesquels il l’imaginait vouloir se soustraire à toute forme d’obligation : « … je suis un homme libre et je ne veux faire que ce qui me plaît ». Mais, soulignant à quel point il lui semblait nécessaire d’étudier l’oeuvre de son ami, Resnais avançait en fin d’entretien : « On dit : la méthode de Léonard de Vinci ; peut-être que bientôt on pourra dire : la méthode de Chris Marker. J’aurais même tendance à dire que Marker est plus fort que Léonard de Vinci, car Marker, lui, va toujours au bout de ce qu’il entreprend. »

C’était dire le caractère unique en même temps que l’importance très tôt entrevue de son oeuvre qui n’a cessé de se développer au gré d’une curiosité essentiellement voyageuse, au rythme des soubresauts de l’histoire et toujours à la pointe des mutations technologiques susceptibles de déplacer un rapport sans cesse réinventé entre les mots et les images. Livre, album, photo, film, vidéo, installation, CD-Rom, Internet, cette oeuvre Marker aura tout traversé, continuellement, inspirant un nombre toujours plus grand de cinéastes et d’artistes à travers le monde. Jusqu’à sa mort soudaine, il y un an à peine, le jour de ses 91 ans. Voilà tout ce que, fidèle à l’esprit de la collection de livres par laquelle il a autrefois contribué à transformer l’édition française, l’événement « Planète Marker » voudrait célébrer. »

Cette manifestation est organisée par le Département du développement culturel, le Musée national d’Art Moderne du Centre Pompidou et la Bibliothèque Publique d’Information dans le cadre du Festival d’Automne à Paris.

En collaboration avec le Mois du film documentaire

Commissaire : DDC / Les cinémas, S. Pras, MnamCci / Nouveaux médias, C. Van Assche, BPI / Comprendre, A. Alliguié


MIT List Visual Arts Center Presents Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte

PRESS RELEASE | Contact: Mark Linga, Public Relations Officer, 617-452-3586 mlinga [at]

Hayden, Reference, Bakalar Galleries
October 18, 2013-January 5, 2014

guillaume-en-egypte-MIT-exhibitSeptember 2013 (Cambridge, MA)—The MIT List Visual Arts Center presents Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte, a survey exhibition of the work of renowned filmmaker and artist Chris Marker (1921-2012). The exhibition is presented concurrently at the MIT List Visual Arts Center (October 18, 2013-January 5, 2014) and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University (October 18, 2013-December 22, 2013), and is accompanied by a retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive (October 17-December 9, 2013). Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte is the first comprehensive presentation of Marker’s pioneering work in text, photography, film, video, and digital media, reflecting his role as a chronicler of the second half of the 20th century through its images. The exhibition and related programming includes screenings and contributions by Agnès Varda, Duncan Campbell, and Jason Simon. Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte is organized by João Ribas.

The opening reception Thursday, October 17 will begin at the MIT List Visual Arts Center from 5:30-7:30 pm, with a film screening/talk at 6:00 pm by exhibition curator João Ribas. The reception for the exhibition will continue at the Carpenter Center from 6:30-8:00 pm, with a screening of La Jetée at 7:30 pm, introduced by Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive and curator João Ribas.

Best known for his 1962 science fiction film La Jetée, Chris Marker worked as a photographer, writer, and editor, before turning to film in the early 1950s. The exhibition at the List will include a comprehensive selection of his media work along with three of Marker’s most important photographic series: Coréennes, his black-and-white-photos of a trip to North Korea in the mid-1950s; Staring Back, photographic portraits captured during travels in Asia, South America, Scandinavia, Africa, Russia, and elsewhere from 1952 to 2006, as well as images from political demonstrations and from Marker’s own films; and Passengers, images taken between 2008 and 2010 of passengers traveling on the Paris Métro. The exhibition will also explore Marker’s critical interest in the relation between images and memory, and between documentary and fiction, through works such as Si j’avais quatre dromadaires (1966), centered on over 800 photographs Marker had taken for over a decade; Remembrances of Things to Come (2003), a portrait of photographer Denise Bellon and her images of postwar culture; and The Last Bolshevik, Marker’s tribute to the work and legacy of Russian film director Alexandr Medvedkin (1900-1989).

In the late 1960s, Marker’s interest in time-based moving image production and political engagement lead him to establish the SLON and Groupe Medvedkine collectives, whose objectives were to make films collaboratively and to encourage industrial workers to produce their own films. From the striking French workers at the Rhodiacéta factory in À bientôt, j’espère (Rhodiacéta) (1968) to Marker’s reflection on the role of imagination in public life in The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004), the various works presented in the exhibition reflect Marker’s ongoing engagement with politics.

Always an early adopter of new moving image technologies, Marker turned to the layering of images and the aesthetics of video, as well computing and digital media, in the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition will present a comprehensive selection of Marker’s work in video spanning several decades, including television productions and his pioneering use of digital technology in the landmark CD-ROM based work, Immemory (1998), which invites readers to navigate “zones” of travel, war, cinema, and poetry, moving through photographs, film clips, music, and text. Marker’s engagement with the digital in Level Five (1996) deploys computer games, digital databases, and web interfaces as platforms for historical investigation, anticipating the ways in which new media are increasingly becoming sites of collective memory. The exhibition will also include recent work Marker produced for a variety of digital platforms, including Second Life and Youtube.

As part of the exhibition, the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University will present a selection of media along with two of Marker’s most-important installation-based works: Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, a 19-minute looped media installation inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem “The Hollow Men” created in 2005 for the Museum of Modern Art; and Silent Movie (1994-95), Marker’s response to the one–hundredth anniversary of the invention of cinema. Originally commissioned by the Wexner Arts Center, Silent Movie evokes the memory of pre-sound cinema in an installation that investigates the intersection of personal recollection with collective nostalgia.

Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the Institute Française and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, The Dedalus Foundation, Icarus Films, Cultural Service of the French Consulate in Boston, Toky, the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Office of the Associate Provost at MIT, the MIT List Visual Arts Center Advisory Committee, and the Friends of the List. Special thanks to Peter Blum Gallery for their generous support and assistance.

[For more information on the Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art events in conjunction with the MIT List exhibit, including schedule and speakers, please visit –ed]

About the MIT List Visual Arts Center

In 1950 MIT established the Hayden Gallery that was located in the Charles Hayden Memorial Library. The gallery served as a venue for a program of changing exhibitions. In 1985 the Hayden Gallery was renamed the List Visual Arts Center in recognition of a gift from Vera and Albert List that relocated the gallery to its current location on the ground floor of the Wiesner Building which was designed by MIT alumnus I.M. Pei (B.S. Architecture, 1940), and Partners Architects.

Over the years the MIT List Visual Arts Center has become highly respected as one of the most significant university art galleries in the country for its innovative, provocative, and scholarly exhibitions and publications. Just as MIT pushes at the frontiers of scientific inquiry, it is the mission of the List Visual Arts Center to explore challenging, intellectually inquisitive, contemporary art making in all media. In addition to presenting 4-6 exhibitions annually, the List Center presents a broad range of education programs in conjunction with its exhibition programming. The Center maintains and adds to MIT’s permanent collection of over 3,500 artworks that includes dozens of publicly sited sculptures and hundreds of paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, and sculptures located throughout MIT’s campus. The List Center is also responsible for commissioning new works for the MIT Public Art Collection through the MIT Percent-for-Art program, and organizing and administering the Student Loan Art Program, which lends over 500 works of art annually to MIT undergraduate and graduate students.

Gallery Hours: Tues-Wed: 12-6PM; Thurs: 12-8PM; Fri-Sun: 12-6PM; closed Mondays and major holidays.

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All exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center are free and open to the public.

Rétrospective Chris Marker at Institut Lumière

Institut Lumiere LyonsThe Institut Lumière in Lyon, France will hold a Rétrospective Chris Marker from the 10th of November 2009 to the 20th of December 2009. On December 9th, Michel Ciment (journalist at Positif and writer) will give a conference on Chris Marker’s work, which will be followed by the screening of Le Tombeau d’Alexandre. Many other films will be shown, including some of his collaborations with Alain Resnais. Full details of the event are available on the Institute’s website :

The Institute in Lyons is home to a remarkable museum that presents the very origins of cinema, offering to visitors “un parcours esthétique, scientifique et historique sur l’histoire de l’invention du Cinématographe par Louis Lumière en 1895.” The collection includes the so-called Cinématographe  “n°1”,  which projected ten films the night of December 28, 1895 at the Grand Café in Paris in front of the 33 curious audience members who became cinema’s first spectators.

The Second Life of Chris Marker

Presented below is the official press release distributed by The Harvard Film Archive for its upcoming film series and live event. You can also view the program at the HFA site.

MAY 9 – MAY 16, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, MA: The Harvard Film Archive is thrilled to host a virtual event with legendary filmmaker Chris Marker titled THE SECOND LIFE OF CHRIS MARKER, on May 16. The event, which will take place in the virtual world of Second Life, will be preceded by screenings of Marker’s films May 9-11.

Chris Marker's OuvroirChris Marker (b. 1921) has been a source of continual fascination and endless speculation since he first emerged in the 1950s as one of the most original and elusive voices of the post-World War II French cinema. A brilliant practitioner and early pioneer of the essay film (In a revision of this text Marker was careful to assert that he did not “invent” the essay film and points to Nicole Védrès and her 1949 La Vie Commence Demain as a major influence upon his embrace of the essay form), Marker’s best known works are animated by a simultaneously playful and philosophical intertwining of documentary and fiction filmmaking techniques and traditions. The dense yet lyrical poesis of montage and voice created across Marker’s films found its fullest expression in Sans Soleil (1982), his celebrated meditation on travel, memory and cultural difference. Among the most politically committed and perceptive European directors, Marker has also created a series of pointed documentary interventions recovering repressed and repressive histories of dissent, whether locally, as in The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (1967), or globally, as in his tragic, sweeping magnum opus A Grin Without a Cat (1978).

Marker has remained famously indifferent to the popular spotlight – leaving all public appearances to Guillaume-en-Egypte, the ginger cat who serves as his pseudonym, mascot and muse – and adamant about his need for unmitigated independence as an artist (while not ruling out occasional work with select collaborators). Marker’s desire for a fully self-sufficient means of production, together with his search for a liberated narrative form to explore the slippages and superimpositions of individual and collective memory has drawn him to experiment with an incredible range of image technologies, from the photo book in his early years to small gauge 16mm and Super-8 cinema and then to video and video games and, most recently, the CD-ROM and Internet. Marker, whose work from as early as La jetée (1962) is deeply informed by science fiction, has an uncanny ability to predict the future and to be there already. In 2008, a commission for the Design Museum in Zürich gave way to the landmark exhibition Chris Marker. A Farewell to Movies, for which Marker, together with Viennese architect Max Moswitzer, created a cyber museum in the virtual world Second Life in order to reexamine and share examples of his photography, films and installation work. The Harvard Film Archive is proud to join Marker for an extremely rare live tour of his Second Life museum, Ouvroir, on Saturday, May 16th and, as a prelude, to present a focused retrospective of his films.

This program is co-presented by Icarus Films on the occasion of their release on DVD of nine Chris Marker films. Special thanks: Jonathan Miller and Lori Fried, Icarus Films; Lucien Bookmite; Max Moswitzer; Naomi Yang, Exact Change Press; Brigitte Bouvier and Eric Jausseran, Consulate General of France, Boston.

Chris Marker Screening Schedule

The Case of the Grinning Cat (Chats perchés)
Saturday May 9 at 7pm
In his latest film Chris Marker offers a lively, roaming examination of political dissent in 21st century France and an energetic return to the film essay form that he pioneered. Intrigued by the enigmatic appearance of an insouciant graffiti cat, grinning from ear to ear, perched defiantly high across the walls of Paris, Marker set out to track the feline pattern and the broader mood of the post-9/11 city. Marker’s search eventually leads him to discover a sudden reassertion of political voice by Parisian youth, a spirited defiance to the American invasion of Iraq and the insurgent French ultra-right, with the grinning cat an icon and emblematic participant.
Directed by Chris Marker.
France 2004, video, color, 58 min. French with English subtitles
Followed by
Sans Soleil
Marker’s ruminative, melancholy masterpiece channels the imagination of a lonely traveling cameraman—evoked in letters from distant Africa and Japan—into a profound meditation on the creative conjuring powers of memory, place and image. Among the most brilliant examples of the essay film, Sans Soleil uses a lyrical, associative structure to transform modern Japan into a vivid metaphor for the scintillating mosaic of fact, fiction and fantasy that defines the increasingly mediated image world in which we live. A crucial bridge between Marker’s adventurous earlier travel films and his growing interest in media and technology, Sans Soleil is one of Marker’s most dazzling and inexhaustible works.
Directed by Chris Marker.
France 1982, 16mm, color, 100 min. With English narration

A Grin Without a Cat (Le fond de l’air est rouge)
Sunday May 10 at 7pm
Marker’s incomparable editing skills attained a new level of sublimity and subtlety in his epic chronicle of the international New Left’s spectacular rise and fall. At turns mordant and mournful, A Grin Without a Cat uses an extraordinary range of source material – newsreels, propaganda films and Marker’s own footage – to construct a polyphonic, immersive and critical history of political struggle. “I am not boasting that I made a dialectical film. But I have tried for once (having in my time frequently abused the power of the directive commentary) to give back to the spectator, through the montage, “his” commentary, that is, his power.” – C.M.
Directed by Chris Marker.
France 1978, 35mm, color, 180 min. French with English subtitles

The Embassy (L’Ambassade)
Monday May 11 at 7pm
A potent study of political disorientation, state terrorism and exile, Marker’s “anonymous” 1973 Super-8 film reads as an allegory and vivid evocation of the violent paroxysms and unrest roiling Latin America and much of the world at the time.Directed by Chris Marker.France 1973, video, color, 21 min. French with English subtitles
Followed by
The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (La sixième face du Pentagone)
Marker’s charged rendering of the October 21, 1967 march on the Pentagon was made for a French “television magazine” and later distributed by the Franco-Belgian film collective, SLON). Integrating still photographs, voiceover commentary and dramatic actuality footage, Marker’s hard-hitting short represents a forcible mode of alternative reportage, a type of counter-newsreel made during a period of intense distrust of the mainstream media.
Directed by Chris Marker, François Reichenbach.
France 1967, video, b/w and color, 26 min. French with English subtitles
Sans Soleil
[see description above]

Special Event Tickets $10
Chris Marker’s Second Life, A Live Event
Saturday May 16 at 7pm

In conjunction with the 2008 exhibition Chris Marker. A Farewell to Movies at the Design Museum in Zurich, Chris Marker presented a series of exhibits of photography, film clips, video installations and other media work, all contained within a radically futuristic museum created in the popular virtual world and free Internet portal, Second Life. Designed and frequently updated by Viennese architect and computer guru Max Moswitzer and Margarete Jahrmann, Marker´s museum hovers motionless above the virtual archipelago Ouvroir, a creative geography of mysterious islands, sculptures and uncanny architecture. Over time, Ouvroir has continued to transform and expand as an interactive environment with new structures and exhibition spaces appearing regularly and often containing content related to Marker’s work.

Always at the very cutting edge of technological innovation, Marker long ago fully embraced the digital and virtual, producing in 1996 perhaps the only lasting and artistically ambitious CD-ROM, the fabulous Immemory, which expanded Marker’s fascination with the playful mirages of memory, history and the moving image into a nonlinear and engrossingly interactive environment. In 2006, Marker premiered a new film, the one minute Leila Attacks, on YouTube (where it can still be viewed at Marker has also been working for many years in digital photography, with a new exhibition, Quelle heure est-elle? opening in May at New York’s Peter Blum Gallery.

The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to host a truly historic live encounter with Chris Marker’s Second Life. Marker, who has often been sited – in the form of his avatar – in Ouvroir, has generously agreed to lead a guided tour and offer commentary on his latest creation, including special single-channel presentations of his video pieces Silent Movie and The Hollow Men, an occasion made all the more meaningful by the recent announcement that the museum will be dismantled later this year.

Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-4700
Tickets for regular screenings are $8 General Admission, $6 Harvard faculty and staff, seniors and non-Harvard students. Harvard students free to regular events. Tickets to special event screenings are $10.
Tickets go on sale 45 minutes prior to show time. The HFA does not do advance ticket sales.

Press Contact:
Brooke Holgerson
Publicity and Outreach
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
holgers {at}

Untergang des Abendlandes

Sans Soleil - New Yorker VideoWe thought Chris Marker fans would like to know. Many of us learned the text of Sans Soleil forwards, backwards and sideways – down to identifying the lone still self-portrait frame in a Tokyo television monitor – by playing the New Yorker Video release of Sans Soleil on VHS over and over (and over) again, until it was as worn out as, say, Katy Lied.

New Yorker Films, the distributor that helped introduce American moviegoers to the works of Bernardo Bertolucci, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Ousmane Sembène, announced on Monday that it was going out of business after 44 years.

NY Times

Other reflections on this event:

Le Souvenir d’un avenir

de Yannick Bellon et Chris Marker
2001, noir et blanc, 42 minutes (vidéo)

“Couleur du temps, couleur des jours, la moisson des photographies de Denise Bellon n’est rien d’autre, peut-être, qu’un passionnant journal, le journal d’une vie ouverte à son époque, de 1935 à 1955. Denise Bellon a fait partie, depuis sa création dans les années 30, de l’équipe de ” l’Alliance-Photo”, Agence photographique de presse.

Ses images ont été publiées en France et à l’étranger dans les grandes revues telles que ” Arts et métiers graphiques “, “Vu”, ” l’Illustration”, “Plaisir de France” et “Match”.

L’itinéraire de l’artiste emprunte constamment les chemins de la liberté. Sa règle d’or est la curiosité et l’attention donnée au monde. Un photographe est un voleur d’instants. Son Rolleiflex à la main, Denise Bellon ne cesse jamais d’aller à la rencontre de la vie, d’avoir rendez-vous avec des êtres, de capturer les beaux visages inconnus et les voisins célèbres, les flâneurs de la Seine, Prévert et sa bande, les ferrailleurs et Marcel Duchamp, André Masson ou Pierre Bonnard dans leurs ateliers.

Jour après jour, ce journal en images tisse la trame du temps : au hasard de la grand’ville, au rythme de l’Histoire, de l’Exposition Universelle de 1937 aux nuits de l’Occupation, des amis surréalistes à Auguste Lumière, d’un mariage gitan à Giono et Joë Bousquet, l’amitié et la découverte font la ronde.

Et en filigrane de ce témoignage d’une vie, on devine le sourire de celle qui sut tendre au temps le miroir d’une époque.”

Claude Roy

Voix : Pierre Arditi
Tissu sonore : Michel Krasna
Post production : Jean-François Naudon
Mixage : Florent Lavallée
Direction de production : Eric Le Roy
Une coproduction Les Films de l’Equinoxe, Arte France.

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