Jonas Mekas

Serpentine South Gallery 5 December 2012 — 27 January 2013 Free

Film-maker, artist and poet Jonas Mekas was a leading figure of avant-garde and independent cinema.

The Serpentine presented an exhibition of Jonas Mekas’s film, video and photographic works from throughout his remarkable and prolific career. Mekas brought a poet’s sensibility to the diary film style that permeates his work. Mekas’ vision was unique in its ability to capture personal moments of beauty, celebration and joy. Developing his diaristic film style in the 1960s, he became best known for his ‘film diaries’ in which he recorded, with great sensitivity, his day-to-day activities, as well as those of his peers from the film and arts community in New York.

This exhibition surveyed Mekas’ work with moving images, poetry and sound, presenting a selection of film and video works dating, from the 1950s through to the time of the exhibition. The show included the world premiere of Mekas’s new feature-length film, presented as an immersive installation. Stills, film portraits of friends and family and ephemera also punctuated the Serpentine’s spaces, offering a fascinating insight into Mekas’s life and work.

“I want to celebrate the small forms of cinema, the lyrical forms, the poem, the watercolour, etude, sketch, postcard, arabesque, bagatelle and little 8mm songs. I am standing in the middle of the information highway and laughing, because a butterfly on a little flower somewhere just fluttered its wings, and I know that the whole course of history will drastically change because of that flutter. A super-8 camera just made a little soft buzz somewhere, on New York’s Lower East Side, and the world will never be the same” –Jonas Mekas


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