Jonas Mekas Exhibition
(Web exhibition / By appointment only)

Aug. 28 [Fri.] ― Sep. 12 [Sat.] 2020 11:00-19:00
*Visiting hours by appointment are 12:00-18:00
Gallery closed on Sunday, Monday, and national holidays.

To view web exhibition movie, please click the play icon on the center of movie below.

KINOSHITA Tetsuo Special interview (Japanese)  New!!

Exhibited works and gallery view

Movie production: Web Magazine Colla:J SHIONO Tetsuya

Jonas Mekas died on January 23rd, 2019, having just celebrated his 96th birthday at the end of the previous year.
The sudden news of his passing left us speechless.
Knowing we would never again be in the presence of that kind-hearted smile struck us with a sense of loneliness, like a hole opened up in our chests.

Mekas, a survivor of the tumultuous 20th century, was born on December 24, 1922 in a small village with only about 100 residents.
His motherland of Lithuania was occupied by the Soviets and the Germans in turn. Mekas himself was imprisoned in a labor camp, then moved through refugee camps until 1949, when he defected to the United States. In Lithuania, Mekas was a poet and spent time as an editor for literary magazines and newspapers, but in Brooklyn, unable to communicate in English, he found work in machinery and sanitation. It was there that he bought his first 16 mm camera. With this, he began to record his neighborhood and the daily lives of fellow Lithuanian immigrants like a diary.

Mekas was the creator of a new style – the diary film – created by collecting fragments of his day to day, mixed with his unique narration and background music. These melancholic, nostalgic films had a major influence on young artists looking for a new form of filmic expression.
He was a leader of independent and experimental films in post-war America, and made great efforts to create places to screen them. His passion was involved in the establishment of a center to screen, collect, and archive these films – the Anthology Film Archives, where he would act as president until his death.

Upon encountering Mekas, we first invited him to Japan in 1983 and, since then, have endeavored in introducing his works here through exhibitions, film screenings, and print editions. After the prints we editioned on his first trip to Japan, from the 80s onwards, Mekas was energetically involved in choosing several frames from his own 16mm film to print as photos, as “frozen film”.

This time, with another memorial exhibition, we will display around 20 photo works from his early prints.
The frame on the exhibition’s invitation card is from the series “this side of paradise”, stills from film recorded from the late 60s to early 70s when Mekas was teaching Jackie Kennedy’s children, John Jr. and Caroline, and their cousins about film.

Jackie, thinking of a way to ease some of her children’s pain as they learned to live without a father after his tragic death, contacted Peter Beard about teaching them art history – through him, she employed Jonas Mekas.
These frames capture fragments of moments of those summer days spent at Andy Warhol’s old house up in Montauk with Jackie and her family and Mekas, with Warhol and Beard on the weekends.

“These were summers of happiness, joy and continuous celebrations of life and friendships. These were days of Little Fragments of Paradise.” Jonas Mekas

In the days of COVID-19, we hope that you can experience this exhibition while maintaining your safety. Like our other recent shows, we will prepare a web exhibition to enjoy from your home.

Web exhibition movies are uploaded on YouTube.

Jonas MEKAS (1922-2019)
Jonas Mekas (born 1922) is a Lithuanian filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." He was the founder of the Anthology Film Archives, The Film Makers Cooperative and Film Culture magazine. He was heavily involved with artists such as Andy Warhol, Nico, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Salvador Dali and fellow Lithuanian George Maciunas. During the Second World War, Mekas was held in displaced persons camps before emigrating to the United States with his brother, Adolfas Mekas, in 1949.

Though his narrative films and documentaries are highly appreciated, he is best known for his diary films, such as Walden (1969), Lost, Lost, Lost (1975), Reminiscences of a Voyage to Lithuania (1972), and Zefiro Torna (1992). In 2001, he released a five-hour long diary film entitled As I Was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, this documentary is based on the chronicles of his life.
Passed away on January 23, 2019 at the age of 96.

Gallery view