The first exhibition devoted to Artavazd Pelechian in France, Nature presents an unprecedented dialogue between three of the filmmaker’s major works: Nature, his first film in twenty-seven years, and Land of the People, on of his first films made in 1966, and The Seasons, an ode to peasant life completed in 1975. Commissioned in 2005 by the Fondation Cartier and ZKM Filminstitut (Karlsruhe, Germany), Nature is the culmination of fifteen years of work by a director whose filmography is as sparse as it is celebrated. The exhibition shines a light on this major figure of the seventh art and his lyrical, at times prophetic, body of work.
Born in Armenia, Artavazd Pelechian created most of his work in Moscow between 1964 and 1993. Over the course of nearly thirty years, in the heart of the Soviet system, he made nine uniquely crafted films, composed of documentary images. Taken from archives and actual footage shot by the filmmaker, these images were reworked and edited together, using a technique that he called “distance montage,” to produce veritable visual poems that escape the classical distinction between fiction and documentary. His style subtly places image and sound on equal footing. A cinema of emotion, without dialogue, actors, or storylines, his work takes an incisive yet empathetic look at the human condition.
¨I am convinced that cinema can convey certain things that no language in the world can translate. For me, it goes back to the Tower of Babel, to before the division into different languages.¨ Artavazd Pelechian
While it was long thought that his filmography had concluded with the film Life in 1993, Pelechian has now returned with a new film, simply titled Nature, through which he once again observes the delicate cohabitation of human communities with their environment—a central theme in his work. The images composing the film—mainly amateur footage gathered from the internet—are fragile traces shot in the midst of nature and its turmoil. A visual elegy, the film resolutely acknowledges nature’s superiority, which is capable of taming all human ambition.