Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda, Ulysse (film still), 1982. Image courtesy the artist

Agnès Varda, Ulysse (film still), 1982. Image courtesy the artist

Agnès Varda (b. 1928, Brussels, Belgium) lives and works in Paris, France. Varda studied art history at the École du Louvre and took night classes in photography. With no film training, she wrote and directed La pointe courte (1954), considered the beginning of French New Wave filmmaking. Le bonheur (Happiness) (1965) won Silver Bear at Berlin Film Festival and Sans toit ni loi (Vagabond) (1985) was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The Beaches of Agnès (2008) won a César Award for Best Documentary Film. She also won the Palme d’Or d’Honneur at Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Faces Places (2017) co-directed with French artist JR won L’Oeil d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the 90th Academy Awards. In 2017, she also received an Honorary Award at the Governors Awards. 

Agnès Varda will present a new video installation and an existing work at FACT. Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and FACT, the three-channel video installation 3 Mouvements (working title) will combine extracts from three of her films: Vagabond (1985), Documenteur (1981) and The Gleaners (2000). Though created over a long time period, all three films portray individuals in society through poetic images – a woman and her son searching for a home in LA, a woman wandering through Southern France, and gleaners collecting harvest and rubbish in rural and urban environments. The various speeds of the moving images between the three channels stimulate questions around temporality, and invite a reflection on the rhythm of human life. Together with 3 Mouvements, Varda will show her seminal film Ulysse (1982). Ulysse tells the story of a photograph that Varda took as a young woman, thereby touching upon her own life, the men in the picture – one of them being Ulysse, the son of political refugees from Spain – and the political situation of the time. Deliberately leaving gaps in the narrative, the film raises questions about the impact of images on our collective and individual memory, as well as the nature of the filmic medium itself.

The Liverpool Biennial 2018 film programme will feature a selection of Agnès Varda’s filmography, as well as films curated by Varda. The programme will be presented at FACT weekly throughout the Biennial and at BFI Southbank, London in June–July, as a partnership between FACT, Picturehouse and the BFI. 

Exhibitions include Blum & Poe, New York City, USA (2017); Musée d'Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2016); LACMA, Los Angeles, USA (2013–14); Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France (2006); and 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003).

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