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Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas: Celebration of the Small and Personal in the Time of Bigness

13 July – 16 August 2006

Faculty Gallery, Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University

Max Delany, Director, Monash University Gallery, and Liutauras Psibilskis, independent curator

This acclaimed exhibition was initially developed for the Lithuanian Pavilion of the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 and is a project of Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius.

Filmmaker, artist, writer, critic and curator Jonas Mekas, a driving force behind American independent cinema and the founder and artistic director of Anthology Film Archives, is presented in an extensive exhibition consisting of video installations and film screenings.

The exhibition reflects Jonas Mekas’ philosophy, with particular focus on his ideas of subjectivity. Mekas writes:

"In this exhibition, as in my work in general, I am concerned with the discovery and celebration of small, insignificant, personal moments of our life, my life, life of my family, my close friends; joys, celebrations, being together, small daily events, feelings, emotions, friendships."

The eight-monitor video installation Home Videos (1995–2005) features images of Mekas’s family and friends. In no particular order the monitors roll personal material shot after he switched from Bolex to video camera. Visitors are invited to move from one monitor to another and “make their own movie”. Other films document his life and artistic associations with the Fluxus movement and legendary figures including Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and George Maciunas.

The exhibition takes us through the development of Mekas’s work, which is already part of the history of independent filmmaking, and also showcases a few of his most recent projects. Additionally a new video installation The Destruction quartet 2006 will be launched at this exhibition: it includes fragments of symbolic and real-life destruction acts that Jonas Mekas witnessed and filmed through the years: Nam June Paik destroying a piano; Australian based artist Danius Kesminas' fire piece in New York in 1983; the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1990; and 9/11.

The exhibition surveys the scope of Jonas Mekas oeuvre from the 1950s to the present , and will include the celebrated earlier films Diaries, Notes & Sketches a.k.a. Walden 1964-1968, Lost, Lost, Lost 1949-1963, He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of his Life 1969-1963 edited 1976, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania 1971-1972, As I Was Moving Ahead I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty 2000, Biographical Quartet 1992 and one of the most recent films A Letter From Greenpoint 2004.

Media Kit:
Jonas Mekas: Celebration of the Small and Personal in the Time of Bigness

Exhibition Catalogue:
Jonas Mekas: Celebration of the Small and Personal in the Times of Bigness

Image courtesy of the artist