Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte

Muted mage of a young korean woman, in draped white clothing, cheek and hand resting against a wall, eyes cast down.

Chris Marker, Coréenes, Untitled #4, (Li Hai-sun), 1957 (printed 2009), black-and-white photograph, 10 ⅜ x 13 ⅞ in. Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York 

Hayden, Reference, & Bakalar Galleries
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Chris Marker
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The MIT List Visual Arts Center, in collaboration with the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, and the Harvard Film Archive presents Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte, a survey exhibition of the work of renowned filmmaker and artist Chris Marker (1921-2012).

The exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation of Marker’s pioneering work in writing, photography, film, video, and digital media, revealing his role as a chronicler of the second half of the 20th century through its images.

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 1950’s. The exhibition at the List will include 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. 

In the late 1960’s, 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 the 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. During the run of the exhibition a selection of Marker’s films are screened daily in the Reference Gallery.

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 new media, in the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition will present a comprehensive selection of Marker’s work in video spanning several decades, including his pioneering use of digital technology in his landmark CD-ROM based work, Immemory (1998). As part of the exhibition, the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University will host two of Marker’s most-important installation-based works: Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, a multimedia piece created in 2005 for the Museum of Modern Art; and Silent Movie (1994-95), commissioned by the Wexner Arts Center, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of film. 

Chris Marker: Guillaume-en-Égypte is curated by List Curator João Ribas


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.