press release

Agnès Varda is one of the most original and influential contemporary filmmakers today. She was also the first woman to pursue a career as a filmmaker in France. All along her career spanning more than 50 years, she has explored and substantially transformed the major cinematographic genres: fiction, with films including La Pointe Courte (1955), Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961), One Sings, The Other doesn’t (1976) and Vagabond (1985); documentary filmmaking with Salut les Cubains (1963), Daguerreotypes (1975), and Mur, Murs (1982) among many others; and biographic portraits such as Jane B. by Agnès V. (1987) and Jacquot de Nantes (1990). Agnès Varda’s filmography also includes an impressive number of short films, like L’Opéra Mouffe (1957) and Ulysse (1982), which sum up the characteristic features of her art: her unique sense of observation and her distinctive poetry, her love of words, comments and short-cuts. It is an art that is playful and light but can be imbued with sadness and pain, and it always carefully extols the density of life – her own as well as that of others. In 2000 the release of The Gleaners and I demonstrated how Agnès Varda has managed over the years - and like very few filmmakers before her - to retain her extraordinary freshness and her sparkling subjectivity.

The Galerie Martine Aboucaya is particularly proud to launch its gallery space and program with the first solo exhibition of Agnès Varda’s film and video installations. This exhibition showcases Agnès Varda’s new venture in video and cinema, which began in 2003 with the creation of Patatutopia for the exhibition « Utopia Station » at the 50th Venice Biennale.

The exhibition includes a new presentation of Patatutopia (2003), an installation unfolding on three large screens, which Agnès Varda imagined during the shooting of « The Gleaners » as an “homage" to forgotten, shriveled, and re-sprouting potatoes. “I was lucky to come across some heart-shaped potatoes,” Varda explained. “I kept them and looked at them for a long time. I want the visitors to this installation to be overcome with emotion and joy in front of this most banal and modest vegetable of all, and to share my utopian thought that the beauty of the world concentrated in these old potatoes can help us live with the chaos”.

Alongside Patatutopia, two new installations by Varda will be presented in the exhibition: Le Triptyque de Noirmoutier (2005) and Les Veuves de Noirmoutier (2005).

A three-screen film installation, The Triptyque de Noirmoutier revolves around a central projection depicting an intimist kitchen scene with three characters and two off-screen spaces that can be viewed only when opening the hinged shutters on either side of the screen. They reveal two other scenes: the vast sea on one side, and a buffet on the other one. The installation thus combines the duration of a scene with the spaces off-screen.

The third installation, Les Veuves de Noirmoutier, is based on the carefully recorded words of several generations of widows living on the Noirmoutier island. The installation is displayed on 14 screens set up around a central projection. In it, on a beach, the widows in black come together and then recede. The screens, almost like predellas, give short portraits of each of the widows.


Agnes Varda 3+3+15 = 3 installations