JONAS MEKAS. Like a Flower in a Field
Curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi
Reykjavik International Film Festival
Opening on Tuesday, October 2, at 6 pm
Ásmundarsalur, Freyjugata 41, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Like a Flower in a Field, the first solo exhibition of Jonas Mekas’ work in Iceland, is a delicate ode that the godfather of American avant-garde cinema has dedicated to life and its infinite, unpredictable manifestations. Curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, the project is part of the official programme of the 2018 Reykjavik International Film Festival and contributes to celebrating the Lithuanian-born filmmaker as this year’s RIFF Honorary Guest. Opening its doors at Ásmundarsalur on Tuesday, October 2, at 6 pm, the show is comprised of digital films, wall drawings and stills from moving images that altogether represent the prolific complexity of the artist’s career.
Like a Flower in a Field presents happy fragments of this story, allowing the viewer to merge them in free associations. On three monitors, three editings from Jonas Mekas’ Online Diaries run in a loop, condensing the ongoing monumental internet artwork jonasmekas.com which the filmmaker launched in 2006, well before the diffusion of social networks. Taken from three separate collections of short videos titled My First 40 (2006), 365 Day Project (2007) and Online Diary (2008-2015), the images live a new existence in full-length movies with a specific cinema grammar, showing small intimate moments from the filmmaker’s daily life, meetings with artists and big stars, and rhapsodic reflections given to the camera.
On the big windows of the gallery, in a cathedral-like arrangement, 45 images of flowers appear in the form of transparencies. They have been taken from the films Jonas Mekas has made over his sixty-year-long career. Each of these stills captures the spontaneous germination of flora in the middle of New York: the mystery of life, the miracle of cinema.
The reflections of light coming from the images permeate the gallery space while some drawings and sketches gently invade the walls around. Some flowers from Jonas’ hand and his studio in Brooklyn are offered to the audience in Reykjavik.