Nearly 200 Photographs by Legendary French Filmmaker Chris Marker on View at the Wexner Center This Summer

Thu, Jul 05, 2007

Exhibition to Tour Internationally

Columbus, OH—Chris Marker: Staring Back, an exhibition of almost 200 photographs taken over the course of six decades by the enigmatic and influential French filmmaker, is on view May 12–August 12 at the Wexner Center for the Arts. This show, organized by the Wexner Center and the first such exhibition of Marker’s photographs, consists of images selected by the artist himself from his own archive, including

black-and-white portraits of individuals—some celebrated, most not—that Marker has encountered during the course of his world travels.

Notes Wexner Center Media Arts Director and exhibition organizer Bill Horrigan: “We’re extremely honored that Marker has entrusted us with this rare opportunity to bring to light some of the photo treasures from his vast personal archive. Those who know him only from his films will see some familiar faces, but beyond that, Staring Back embodies Marker’s boundless curiosity about the men and the woman with whom he’s come face to face, armed with his camera, throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America.”

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition and features texts by Marker, Horrigan, and Molly Nesbit, scholar and contributing editor to Artforum. The English translation of Marker’s most recent film, The Case of the Grinning Cat, as well as selected photo annotations, are also included. The 160-page catalogue is co-published with MIT press.

The exhibition will tour to Peter Blum Gallery in Chelsea, New York in early September 2007, and to Museum für Gestaltung Zurich March 5–June 22, 2008.


Divided into four sections, and featuring music hand-picked by Marker, Staring Back is organized around the idea of the faces Marker has seen in his global travels, and of the faces that have in turn witnessed his own observant gaze—“I stare” and “They stare,” as Marker puts it. Central to the exhibition are his depictions of political demonstrations he’s witnessed and participated in, from Algerian independence protests in 1962, to the Pentagon march in 1967, to May 1968 in Paris, and continuing to 2006 in a stunning series devoted to the sustained demonstrations by French young people against punitive employment legislation. Interspersed throughout the exhibition are photographic traces of his inimitable films, including La jetée, Letter from Siberia, The Sixth Face of the Pentagon, Cuba Si!, Le fond de l’air est rouge, Sans Soleil, and The Case of the Grinning Cat (which screened at the Wexner Center last fall), among others. Although some of the portraits depict well-known individuals (such as Simone Signoret and Akira Kurosawa), most are of unidentified citizens to whom Marker and his camera were drawn in the course of his global progress through Asia, South America, Scandinavia, Africa, Russia, and elsewhere. The exhibition also includes a selection of photographs of animals.


Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Chris Marker is one of the most influential and important filmmakers to emerge in the post-war era. After time spent in the French resistance, Marker appeared on the Paris cultural landscape as a writer and editor, winning admiration for the Petite Planete travel books he edited for Seuil beginning in 1954. Parallel to his written commentary, Marker also became identified for his uniquely expressive non-fiction films, eschewing traditional narrative technique and working from a deeply political vein, as in the boundary-breaking Sans Soleil. Marker began garnering international recognition in 1962 with the science-fiction short film La jetée, a hugely influential story of nuclear experimentation and time travel. Marker has also produced acclaimed media installations, including Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2005, and Silent Movie, which the Wexner Center commissioned in 1995 through its Residency Award program, and which subsequently traveled to over a dozen other venues internationally.


THE EXHIBITION: Chris Marker: Staring Back, nearly 200 photographs from six decades from the legendary French filmmaker’s archives, including images of political demonstrations across the globe

DATES: May 12–August 12, 2007. Also on view: Robert Beck: dust, Zoe Leonard: Analogue and State Fare: Three Ohio Artists

LOCATION: Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 North High Street at 15th Avenue at The Ohio State University. Parking in Ohio Union Garage just south of the Center.

GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday–Wednesday and Sunday 11 am–6 pm; Thursday–Saturday 11 am–8 pm. The galleries are closed on Monday.


PUBLIC INFORMATION: or (614) 292-3535