January 12, 2024

Solo exhibition : Facing the Image at La Virreina

News / Event

18/11/2023 > 14/04/2024

Solo exhibition : Facing the Image at La Virreina

Facing the Image is the first exhibition of Chantal Akerman’s installations curated by her artistic collaborator Claire Atherton. Displayed at La Virreina, the Centre of Moving Image in Barcelona, the exibition is running from November 18 until April 14.

“Chantal Akerman discovered working on installations when we conceived D’EST, au bord de la fiction, in 1994. This was a few months after we finished editing the film D’Est. We found exploring this new territory thrilling. The temporal dimension that structured the montage of the films was now enriched with a spatial dimension. We were no longer only working with the relationship of shots placed one after another, but also the relationship of the shots displayed side by side, on several monitors, as we looked for interactions, links, resonances in space.

We conceived close to 20 installations together. Some were made based on existing films, others led to new shoots, or to new explorations. Each one had a different starting point: a desire, a vision, an obsession, an intuition, an image, a title, a sound…

Chantal was particularly fond of working on installations, because it gave her a feeling of great freedom. She liked us to do everything “at home,” like artisans, without having to explain to anyone what we wanted to achieve. She said that an installation, even more than a film, was something that can’t be described ahead of time but is born little by little, through the work itself.

In editing the films D’EstSud (1999), and De l’autre côté (2002), we had already freed ourselves from the linearity of the narrative, but here we were emancipating ourselves even further. We were in direct contact with the material as we kneaded and transformed it. We worked with fragmentation, played with repetitions, oppositions, and shifts in time, without falling into systematism. By freeing ourselves of the need for immediate meaning, by giving questions of rhythm, space, presence, and silence an essential place, we were seeking to bring to light what comes before any conceptualization, therefore touching on the very essence of the mystery of life.

This exhibition is in the image of our work. It isn’t thematic, but proposes an open-ended journey connecting the various pieces, inviting viewers to encounter them, to face them, to let themselves be steeped in their presence, to explore the space at their own rhythm, and create their own paths. There’s no thread to follow other than the one each of us personally weaves from the images and sounds. Chantal’s installations do not dictate anything, they move through us and touch us in the most intimate way. They question us, they push us, they set us in motion and set us thinking.

It is probably in this way that Chantal’s body of work is deeply political.”

Claire Atherton

La Virreina

Download the exhibtion’s leaflet