Tate Modern

Magiciens de la Terre: reconsidered

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Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, Les statues meurent aussi, 1953

Dziga Vertov, A Sixth Part of the World, 1924

Dziga Vertov, A Sixth Part of the World, 1924, film poster

David Byrne, True Stories, 1986

In 1989 the ambitious exhibition Magiciens de la Terre opened in Paris, presenting the work of over one hundred artists, half of whom were described as non-Western. In a daring bid to open up the art world centred in West Europe and North America, Magiciens de la Terre argued for the universality of the creative impulse and endeavoured to offer direct and equal aesthetic experience of contemporary works of art made globally. Marking the 25th anniversary of what proved to be a hugely controversial show, a weekend of screenings and talks revisits and expands on the exhibition’s pioneering film programme.

The selection of screenings offers reflection on the cinematic history and legacy of colonialism, on developments within ethnographic film and on emerging discourses of globalisation. The diverse programme includes works by David Byrne, Maya Deren, Len Lye, Chris Marker, Claes Oldenburg, Alain Resnais, Jean Rouch and Dziga Vertov, together with significant contributions by filmmakers who are less well-known in the UK. The films are contextualised through discussion with original contributors to Magiciens and contemporary respondents.

Curated by Lucy Steeds (Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London) and George Clark (Assistant Curator: Film, Tate Modern).

A partnership between Afterall Books and Tate Film, to mark the recent publication of Making Art Global (Part 2): 'Magiciens de la Terre’ 1989, 2013 in conjunction with the MRes Art: Exhibition Studies course at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.


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