Chantal Akerman. Travelling

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Chantal Akerman © Adagp, Paris, SABAM, 2023

Bozar, CINEMATEK and the Chantal Akerman Foundation present, “Chantal Akerman. Travelling”. The exhibition retraces the atypical journey of Belgian filmmaker, writer and artist Chantal Akerman (Brussels 1950 – Paris 2015), from her very first films to her late installations in 2015.

Born in Brussels in 1950, Chantal Akerman was one of the first filmmakers to regularly use this city, the place of her birth and the very fabric of her work, as a city of cinema in its own right and no longer as a simple passing setting. This is the first major exhibition dedicated to the Brussels artist, which presents images but also unique and unpublished production and work documents from her archives.

Brussels, Paris, New York, Mexico. All these places and all these geographies have accompanied her and shaped her cinematographic practice over the years. They form a moving or surprising journey of art and life developed in the exhibition.

Chantal Akerman is a source of inspiration for all generations. Today she remains a model for many artists and directors. Todd Haynes, Gus van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Claire Denis, Christophe Honoré, Sharon Lockhart, Wang Bing and Michael Haneke have often recalled the influence that Akerman had on their work. Her film “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” was named the best film of all time in 2022 by Sight and Sound, the magazine of the prestigious British Film Institute.

Photos by Boris Lehman and Virginia Haggard-Leirens

 

Following the stages of her career, the exhibition invites you to explore the years and places that Chantal Akerman has traveled and filmed while embracing media as varied as cinema, television, writings and installations.

Covering more than a dozen rooms in the heart of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (Circuit Royal), the exhibition includes: seven artistic installations (videos) including some brought together for the very first time (notably ‘Now’ presented at the Venice Biennale and Voice in the Desert at Documenta); unpublished rushes (notably from Hanging Out Yonkers); audiovisual archives and the archive of the production company Paradise Films (constituting the main archive of the Chantal Akerman Foundation): filming photos, scripts, dialogues, location photos… ; four short films; two films (Skip My Town; The 80s); five television films (Family Business; Le Marteau; Rue Mallet Stevens; Tell Me; Laziness); one unreleased Super 8 film.

The numerous team photographs from the archives of the Chantal Akerman Foundation reflect, the succession of eras, the evolution of the economic conditions of production and the achievements of the artist who over time, moved from small films to feature films, and from documentaries to installations in the museum space. 

The scope of the exhibition is impressive, visitors are taken from burlesque to tragedy, from musical comedy to the pains of the world and the intimate, and from the bedroom to the desert.

A subjective bio-filmography “animated” by quotes from the filmmaker, traces the general timeline of these multiple passages, testifies to her reflections on cinema and her work processes while allowing the presentation of the works and from their archives.

14 March to 12 July