I first came across the work of the French filmmaker, Chris Marker (1921-2012), while studying at university. For class, I watched La Jetée (1962), a twenty-eight minute black and white science fiction photomontage that depicts a distopian future after World War Three. Exploring the concept of time travel, the use of still images alongside an omnipotent narrator created a surprising level of emotional commitment to the voiceless protagonist.
I did not realise until now that Marker was more than just a filmmaker, but also a poet, writer, photographer, and multi-media artist. These aspects are now being explored at the Whitechapel gallery in an exhibition called A Grin Without a Cat, which is named after one of his photographic works from 1977.
Chris Marker is something of a mystery, as he always declined to be interviewed. You are therefore always left wondering exactly what the idea behind his work was. It is left to you to make your own interpretations.
The exhibition is divided into four sections, including 'Museum', in which you will be able to explore Marker's self-made museum collection, and 'Travelogue', where you can connect to the trips around the world that Marker took.
There will also be several film screenings throughout May and June. These include documentaries, lecture presentations, and clips of his work.