Still from Guns of the Trees (1961)
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Johas Mekas, the Sprengel Museum in Hanover on 15 April launched the programme of anniversary events under the title Happy Birthday, Jonas Mekas!, which will last until 11 September and present three films by the avant-garde filmmaker, film critic and poet, as well as his book New York Diaries.
From 15 April until 12 June, visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to see Mekas’ film Guns of the Trees (1961). This experimental feature film offers a portrait of a generation facing responsibility.
On 7 June 7, Sprengel Museum will host the presentation of Mekas’ blog I Seem to Live. The New York Diaries, 1950-2011 by Anne König, director of Leipzig publisher Spector Books, who publish Mekas’ work in Germany, and Inka Schube, curator of the Sprengel Museum and the programme.
From 17 June until 31 July, Sprengel will screen The Brig (1964). In 1964, Jonas Mekas recorded the play The Brig by the avant-garde theatre Living Theater, which reenacted the conditions in a military prison. According to the director, The Brig is a form of cinéma-vérité, a form of film criticism that challenges the media’s claim to the truth. The film won the Grand Prix in the documentary category at the Venice Film Festival in 1964.
From 5 August – to 11 September, the film Lost, Lost, Lost (1976) will end the retrospective. This is the artist’s second autobiographical film after Walden/Diaries, Notes and Sketches, which tells about the loss of homeland, the search for the new home in the United States, and his role as a chronicler. Tinted with life-affirming melancholy films are characterised by radical subjectivity, a kaleidoscopic narrative form, poetic authenticity, and an innovative relationship between audio and video. All films are shown in digitised form.
In autumn 2022, events dedicated to Jonas Mekas will move on to other German cities.
Jonas Mekas’ centenary programme was prepared by the Sprengel Museum in cooperation with Re:Voir, Paris, Sebastian Mekas and Lithuanian Cultural Attaché in Germany Rasa Balčikonyte.
The international project Jonas Mekas 100! is dedicated to the centenary year of the birth of the avant-garde filmmaker, film critic and poet Jonas Mekas in 2022. The programme, comprising over 50 various events, has been prepared by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Lithuanian cultural attachés and the Estate of Jonas Mekas. Film screenings, exhibitions, video installations, concerts, poetry readings, discussion and thematic residency programmes, poetry translation workshops, publishing projects and other initiatives will take place in leading cultural institutions in many countries around the world. The programme is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The Jonas Mekas 100! programme is available on the website www.jonasmekas100.com.