16 April – 22 June 2014
The first UK retrospective of the French filmmaker, photographer, writer and multimedia artist.
Chris Marker directed over 60 films during his lifetime and was closely associated with the 'essay' genre of cinematography. Perhaps most famous was La Jetée (The Pier) which relies almost entirely on black-and-white still photographs to imagine nuclear devastation in Paris, and which inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys and James Cameron’s Terminator. Here, a rare version of the film containing an alternative opening sequence is shown in a dedicated gallery.
The Whitechapel exhibition is the first time all five of Marker's multimedia installations have been shown together, each combining film footage with an array of texts, illustrations, graphics and photographs. For example, Sans soleil unravels through the letters of an anonymous woman shown to cameraman and shots flitting across the world, from Japan to Guinea-Bissau in Africa.
A large projection of Ouvroir: the Movie - a guided tour of the virtual museum he created on the website Second Life - is one of many projects Marker produced via his online avatar, Guillame-en-Eqypte the cat. In fact throughout his career, when the artist was asked for a picture of himself he usually offered a photograph of a cat instead.
Le Joli Mai (The Merry Month of May) provides a snapshot of life in Paris during the first springtime of peace after the ceasefire with Algeria - also the first time in 23 years that France was not involved in any war. Newly re-mastered for screening, it combines Paris trivia - such as the number of hours of sunshine and the amount of meat and potatoes eaten in the city each month - with interviews with people in the street.