The Film Gallery, Paris
To New York With Love,
“When in 1949, after years of wars,
forced labor camps and displaced persons camps I landed in New York,
I was split in one thousand pieces.
It was New York that saved my sanity,
it was New York that helped me to begin to put myself together again.
Its people, its streets, its sounds, its energy, its poetry engulfed me, embraced me, and I,
thirsty and famished for it all, gave myself to it all, with no resistance.
These casual images are my love letter to New York.”
– Jonas Mekas
Programmed to celebrate the centennial of Jonas Mekas, Jonas Mekas 100!, the exhibition To New York With Love presents 21 offset lithographs and the screening of the film As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses Of Beauty, 2000, 288 min by Jonas Mekas.
The centennial program is a joint international collaboration between leading art and cinema organisations, curators, publishers, the global network of Lithuanian cultural attachés, the Estate of Jonas Mekas, and the Lithuanian Culture Institute.
Jonas Mekas was invited to the Neiman Center in 2009 to produce a portfolio of images excerpted from Walden (Diaries, Notes, and Sketches) his 1969 experimental film, which chronicles scenes from his daily life as well as additional stills of his beloved New York City.
The 21 offset lithographs, To New York With Love, is a sensitive tribute to the city, a gift of poetic reminiscences to its viewers.
Mekas’s images – which range from seemingly banal pictures of teens playing in Central Park to Rockefeller Center’s bedazzled Christmas tree – retain the compositional form of the film strip.
Each print depicts three frames of film running vertically to highlight the subject’s subtly changing movements while sprocket holes and voiceprints occupy either side of the image. The voiceprint serves to remind the viewer of the sound once associated with the now static image.
“As I Was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty shows the emotions, the subtle sensations, the everyday joys as I perceived them in the voices, in the faces, in the small daily activities of people I met, observed, and lived with…
Things that I have recorded for years, as opposed to the spectacular, entertaining, sensational and dramatic activities that dominate much of contemporary cinema.
For all that, this film is not conceived as a documentary. It follows a tradition established by modern poet filmmakers.
I am interested in intensifying the fleeting moments of reality, filming and structuring my material in a personal way.
Particular importance was given to color, movement, rhythm and structure, essential elements in my research.”
– Jonas Mekas