Showcase for a pioneering visionary in Whitechapel

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 May 2014 | UPDATED: 16:36 23 May 2014

Still from La Jetee

Still from La Jetee


The first major retrospective exhibition of French artist Chris Marker has come to the Whitechapel Gallery.

The exhibition is a rare glimpse of work from a man often cited as a visionary and a pioneer of the “essay film” genre.

Photos and feature films from the film-maker, photographer, writer and multimedia artist’s extensive repertoire are being shown.

Marker, who died in 2012, is best known as the director of more than 60 films including Sans Soleil, A Grin Without a Cat and the chilling La Jetée, which imagines a Paris devastated by nuclear disaster.

It is composed almost entirely of black and white stills, informing the narrative of many classic Hollywood films.

Highlights of the exhibition include all five of Marker’s multi-media installations shown together for the first time, rare photographs and a re-mastered edition of his 1963 film Le Jolie Mai.

The film paints Paris with a romantic brush incorporating interviews with residents and commentary about various subjects such as the hours of sunshine in May.

The numerous themes explored in Marker’s projects are presented room by room to take the viewer on a journey through the artist’s thoughts and creative processes.

Habda Rashid, a curator at the gallery, said: “The exhibition unfolds in four key themes – the Museum, Travelogues, Film and Memory, and War and Revolution. We wanted to show the public how prolific and broad Chris Marker’s career was and showcase him and his exceptional work beyond film – bringing together photography, installations and archives, and placing works from different media and periods in relation to each other.”

The exhibition runs until June 22 and admission is free. There are screenings and talks alongside the exhibition which offer a deeper perspective on Marker’s work.

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