A small table, with a bottle of wine, garlic, sausage, bread
December 8, 2022 - January 21, 2023
Opening Reception: Thursday December 8, 6-8pm
“A small table with a bottle of wine, garlic, sausage, bread,” a solo exhibition of works by Jonas Mekas, opening on December 8 and taking place in connection with 100th anniversary of his birth on December 24, 1922.
“A small table with a bottle of wine, garlic, sausage, bread" features Mekas’ final work “Requiem” (2019), an 84-minute video piece that, after its debut as part of a live visual/orchestral performance at The Shed in 2019, is being exhibited for the first time in its final single-channel video form. Additionally, the show includes a selection of the artist's 4-channel video installations, know as “quartets,” as well as multi-projector 35mm slide, sound, and photographic installations made between 2000 and 2018 — most of which have rarely, if ever, been presented in the United States.
“I choose art and beauty, vague as those terms are, against ugliness and horrors in which we live today. […] I feel my duty not to betray those poets, scientists, saints, singers, troubadours of the past centuries who did everything so that humanity would become more beautiful.” — Jonas Mekas, 2015
Made during his final year, Mekas' “Requiem" is an unrelenting homage to the beauty of nature and a comment on life on this planet by an artist who at the age of 96 was well aware of the horrors of the 20th Century and dismayed by the events of the 21st. The primary imagery of this work — which is culled from footage shot by the artist over three-decades from his first Sony analog video camcorder to his HD pocket-sized Nikon — is flowers.
Cut flowers, garden flowers, wild flowers, and flowers in bloom on trees, hillsides, fields and elsewhere are accompanied by the sounds of nature and Giuseppe Verdi’s "Messa da Requiem." Inter-titles with translations of lines from the Latin funeral mass sung by the choir are interspersed throughout the work along with other imagery including recordings of TV news reports inspired by themes from the novel “The Betrothed,” a classic of Italian literature set during a time of upheaval and plague by Alessandro Manzoni, for whom Verdi's “Requiem” was composed.
“491 Broadway,” first presented in Paris in 2009, is a sound/multi-media installation consisting primarily of “a small table with a bottle of wine, garlic, Italian sausage, bread” celebrating the coming together of friends, a major theme in the artist’s work. As part of this work, visitors are invited to sit around the table and eat and drink the beverages and food that Mekas always offered those at his table, while listening to the sounds and conversations of family and friends who visited his Soho loft where he lived for 30 years, including an animated discussion between filmmakers Peter Kubelka and Stan Brakhage on cinema. A series of prints of various sizes feature images of visual materials in his loft such as post-it notes, photos, drawings, and other elements suggesting the original home environment.
Associated events will also be taking place during the course of the exhibit.
525 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm
or by appointment
For more info: https://microscopegallery.com