May 16th, 2018

Agnès Varda at Nathalie Obadia

Agnès Varda at Nathalie Obadia

Artist: Agnès Varda

Venue: Nathalie Obadia, Paris

Exhibition Title: A CINEMA SHACK : The greenhouse of Happiness

Date: April 14 – May 31, 2018

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Agnès Varda at Nathalie Obadia

Agnès Varda at Nathalie Obadia

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy of the artist and Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photos by Bertrand Huet / tutti image.

Press Release:

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to present A CINEMA SHACK : The greenhouse of Happiness, Agnès Varda’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. The artist has built a greenhouse with partitions and glass walls made of the (real) 35mm film reels from a print of LE BONHEUR (Happiness), the movie she made in 1964. Inside, (fake) sunflowers are cultivated. The Greenhouse of Happiness is her most recent shack after the one showcased at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain (Paris, 2006), the Lyon Biennale (2009) and the LACMA (Los Angeles, 2013), all made of composite prints of various films.

My nostalgia for 35mm cinema turned into a recycling whim… I build shacks with the waste reels of my movies. Tossed aside because no longer screened, they become shacks.

Before, film prints would arrive in projection booths in the form of 5 to 8 rounded metal boxes looking like 4cm-thick cakes. In each box, there would be a metal coil rolling up a 5 to 600-meter film reel: it was the motion picture movie with the soundtrack on the side. The booth projector had two lamps: one would cast the image and the other the sound. Now, movies are carried on digital files, both image and sound, weighing approximately 200gr when non-dematerialized. So loads of coils and film reels were discarded…

For my movies, as well as Jacques Demy’s, we found ourselves with loads of prints that movie theaters no longer wanted. I like collecting waste and recycling it.

It is the third shack I build.

I imagine a specific shape for each of my movies.

The movie Le Bonheur (Happiness) was the story of a happy couple, embodied by Jean-Claude Drouot, his wife and kids.

They liked picnics. I shot it in Île-de-France thinking about the impressionist painters, with the music of Mozart in the background.

The credits were shot next to a field of sunflowers, the flowers of summer and happiness.

This greenhouse, with its distinctive double-windows, is made of an entire print of the film, 2200 meters, allowing to cover the walls, doors and the roof.

Visitors will be able to enter in the shack and look closer at the transparent images of the movie. 24 images of the sweet Claire Drouot make up one second of the movie and will cover a surface of 45cm. They will be surrounded by the whole duration of the movie and images of a lost time.

As for the reel metal boxes, they have become obsolete.

I like these boxes. I remember when we used to go to the mixing, we had to carry tons of them around (a hundred at least). When we threw them into the trunk, it was like a drum concert: boxes for images, boxes for live dialogues, boxes for music, for noise etc.

Is it still nostalgia or recycling?

A royal arch welcomes us into the gallery. It is made of these now empty boxes.

We enter in the realm of movies’ second life.

– Agnès Varda

Link: Agnès Varda at Nathalie Obadia

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