The Patates & compagnie exhibition invites you to dive into the imaginative and sensitive universe of the artist Agnès Varda, winner of the Honorary Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for her films. In the place of her childhood, the exhibition offers, for the first time in Belgium, an unconventional visual journey through installations, photographs and videos. Her prolific work mixes with humour childhood memories and recent creations that meet halfway between fantasy and reality.
Agnès Varda presents .....
My childhood neighbourhood, which I call XL, has a museum. When I was a child of 7 or 8, taking the tram to Louise, never would I have imagined that I would return one day at the age of 87/ 88 to exhibit my art work! And not that.
At the Museum of Ixelles, there will be some documents on display from my mother (who is southern French). She introduced her children to the ducks at the Ixelles lakes, the vegetable market at Place Flagey and the old Flemish painters. I love their triptychs with a passion.
I will celebrate the earth, the sea ... and the Ixelles lakes.
The earth provides us with potatoes ... this has become a theme of my work especially when they take the shape of the heart. They have aged, have shrivelled and yet still germinate and grow shoots. Patatutopia celebrates their resistance. It is utopian to think that amongst all the vegetables and fruits, they are modest and yet most beautiful and most modern in the world.
The Belgian beaches of my childhood are where I also praise the sea and horizon. Very young men look on dreamily. The sea breeze and the winds are full of life. Further on, a young girl poses in front of a large white cow, looking at us. It is framed by video components, where cows live their quiet life chewing the cud.
It is a triptych.
The moving image, the still image… cinema and photography, there is a close connection.
From a photograph of a dead goat, a child and a naked man facing the sea, taken on a beach in 1954, I made a short film in 1982: Ulysse. How an image carries with it, memories and aging. In presenting the film from the original photograph, you explore the imagination, memory and reality.
In another of my films, Sans toit ni loi, it was enough to simply choose an image or a 24th of a second. The photograph sums up the film perhaps.
The neighbourhood’s still and moving images, images of earth, wind and beaches, allow visitors to slide from one print to another and meet me at random positions and potatoes, on course, on a ride to the flat country of my childhood and in the paths of my imagination.
How can I forget my early French knitting (which inspired the Tricotine) and accompanying my mother to buy vegetables at the market in the Place Saint-Jean at the edge of the Ixelles lakes?
Agnès Varda, December 2015
Museum van Elsene - AGNÈS VARDA. Patates & compagnie - 25.02.2016 - 09.05.2016
Website & source : Museum van Elsene NL - FR - EN
Website : Elsene NL - FR