Asked about her double status as an artist and filmmaker, about the constant back and forth between filming and photographing, Agnes Varda downplayed a dilemma that she considered secondary. For both efforts, she said, only three things are needed : “ a computer, a camera and a cat”.
Enough with the object and the inspiration, the real and its mystery, the technique and the irrational needed to put together any work.
Well, let’s take her phrase as the title of this exhibition. Let’s pay tribute to that statement and use each of these pieces to evaporate the boundaries between one world and another. And it is worth the new territory that we founded, even briefly, after having crossed those borders.
The presence of art in the cinema lasts already a hundred years. Suffice it to look at the silent films of Chaplin or Buster Keaton to see reflected the avatars of artists, stubborn and poor, who always tried
it for more than always failed. Suffice it to review the protagonism of Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock, Frida Kahlo or Basquiat in the history of cinema. Suffice it to see where this drift has come in a recent installment like The Velvet Buzzsaw.
Neither is the opposite way deniable ; the invasion of cinema in art. Because this one is also intense. From Magritte to Dalí, from Warhol to Carlos Saura, from Edward Ruscha to Francis Bacon, the artworld granted a different space to Marilyn Monroe or Mae West, Brigitte Bardot or Mickey Mouse, Mack Sennet or the goings-on of Hollywood.
A Computer, A Camera and A Cat belongs to that second line, an exhibition which tends, from a simple display, to probe the appropriation of cinema by art. Although not only in the epidermal, but also in the invisible cinematographic mechanisms that manage to put together each of these pieces that, in principle, do not seem exactly like “cinema”.
It is the photograph of Varda herself, which is also a tribute to the Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez. Or Requer invoking Eisenstein and, at the same time, refocusing his account of the Bolshevik revolution. Or Stan Douglas in whom perseveres a filmaker-artist and who had previously re-enact the work of Tomàs Gutiérrez Alea in Borges style, displacing Memory of underdevelopment in time and producing
a work that is the same and one at a time. Or Txuspo Poyo turning the cinema into a narrative material and a constructive resource of his work. Or Barbara Hammer, that merges cinema and art video
to offer her pioneering stories. Or Joan Fontcuberta capturing, on the one hand, the place of the photographer in pornography and, on the other, the inevitable “pornography” in which photography has fallen.
A Computer, a Camera and a Cat is an attempt to host the cinema in art, to slightly remove the status of both and to convert its exhibition into something else. Maybe into a space in between the cinema and the gallery or a collective trailer of upcoming films.
Iván de la Nuez, Curator
Stan Douglas, Solitaire
Txuspo Poyo, Alianza
Requer (Renier Quer Figueredo), Octubre actualizado mientras vuelvo en sí