Si on n'a pas vu le bonheur dans l'image, on en verra le noir - Chris Marker

curated by Ramuntcho Matta

26 June - 6 September 2014

To celebrate the anniversary of Chris Marker, Ramuntcho Matta who was a close friend of his, proposes to make a connection between some of his contact sheets and the works of the artists of the gallery.
This exhibition, in collaboration with Gallery Polaris, presents a posthumous letter written by Ramuntcho Matta to Chris Marker as a memorandum.

with Chris Marker, Katharina Bosse, Alun Williams, David B., Louis Pons, Dominique Figarella, Jochen Gerner, Sarah Tritz, Guillaume Pinard, Yona Friedman et Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, Killoffer, Manuela Marques, Odires Mlaszho, Fred Jagueneau




Dear Chris,

Now you are gone, I have never thought of you so much.

I do love your high moral standards and your mental sharpness.
I wondered what I was going to find for your birthday.

Visiting the gallery storerooms of two friends, (they are gallery owners, and not art dealers), I have selected a few treasures for you.
Some beautiful images.
“Beautiful” meaning “true”.
Subjective, full of truth.
Because today beauty is also truth.

You said so, so well, in “Le Joli Mai”.

For artists’ truth improves reality more than media do. Probably because media bank on calamity rather than on proposals of solutions. A little as if medicine were interested in diseases rather than in curing…

The artists I have chosen are demanding and sincere. They examine our time in order to reveal what is important in it.

This is why they are precious and essential.

You said so, so well, in “Le Joli Mai”.

Talking of May, what is left of the Cuban revolution: Fred has caught this little boy who looks at the world with the same scepticism as Bob Dylan… He seems to say: “is it where you wish me to be?”… How can you feel “wished” in a world where technology is used to make you submit yourself by control systems?

On the other hand, thanks to this very technology, one can go to the moon…but what for?

Simon Willems paints it. To paint is to discover.

To discover there is nothing up there, there is only here.

We must combine ourselves with the landscape…

As well take care of here, don’t you think?

This is Yto Barrada ‘s subject: if you do not feel well somewhere, you will not feel well anywhere.

Educational management is a shame. Caution, danger (Tangiers)

Today’s challenges, education, perversity, speculation, humanity, generosity… all are in danger (Tangiers).

Every morning, you did physical exercises. We had this exercise book in class; Sarah’s tribute to acrobats should please you… An acknowledgement of those who charmed shared moments…

It was not easy to find, in this time when the art of blurring puts everything on the same level.

Jochen Gerner decodes, points out, demonstrates, as Burroughs did.

It is definitely a question of levels of interpretation. Like with Antonio Caballero.

The car accident also tells that the Olympic games business kills innocence.
A gun cannot protect us from ourselves, on the contrary.
Even a photo romance can hold much information.
As you said with Hans Jonas’ Imperative of Responsibility.

You were looking for a sponsor, in order to be able to end your days in Iceland.

I have not found the house, but Yona Friedman and Jean-Baptiste Decavèle evoke quite well this atmosphere.
The warmth of isolation.

As for the Venetian blind, in Khalili’s video, it calls up trade masking the seaman giving up what is our essence, kindness.

To survive today, should we renounce love?
Go so far as to throw stowaways overboard?

Live like a barbarous brute, like those of Pinard’s drawings?
A stone for a head? A mace in hand?
A few lines with a pencil remind us to be watchful.

To be watchful with ourselves, this is the meaning of the word Jihad.

The blood of the lamb will be of no use if the mark of Gombrowicz is not seen in Bart’s painting, as well as many other signs.

Alun Williams, in his work on Jules Verne, reminds me of this Cuban artist you loved.

The only painting you had at home anyway.

What would you have said to Napoleon III?

And this girl photographed by Katarina Bosse tells you that a girl is not only a face…or a body…We are all so more complex than our sexuality or our sex.
For the occasion, I have found the contact sheets you gave me before you went.
I have selected some pieces.
You told me once that images belong to everyone, and what is important is to do things freely.

The © is the absolute enemy…


You told me once that Herimann’s krazy katz is probably the greatest paste-up artist.
Thank you to Speedy for bringing him back to life.
We move on with our dead ones, our sufferings.
Maybe it is what makes us demanding.
Not to become amnesiac.

David B.’s man walking lightens us somehow.
To give room to predecessors.
To remember that trees bloom after winter.


Manuela Marques stresses it.
A shelter is also the possibility to rest.
To allow oneself to pause. To take the time to look around.

Odires Malszho reminds politicians that power does not infer strength automatically.

A sympathetic ear is genuine strength.

Dominique Figarella is the link. He shows how a simple round ball can be muddling.
A lobotomy on consistency if it is only what remains.
And with him, the materialistic strategy.

The body does not amount to sport.

Patrick Guns takes risks.
To show the act of love of the last meal to a condemned man.
Prison will never be the answer.

By the way, cats can stand still and jump all of a sudden.
Louis Pons made a nice specimen for you.
He could be approved as a cat.
He has understood the essence of life: to be here and there at the same time.


What brings us there?
How have we lost our four faces?
A panther knows, for it hypothesizes at lightning speed.
What we need is judgement.


Like me, you are insomniac, how not to be so?
What kind of night can we have access to, when we are only all skin and bones?


Nasty itching skin.
What itches those who are responsible?
Because, as for everything: there is someone responsible.
There is art to remind us of it.
This is the reason why it is most important to support galleries.
Maybe the last territory of resistance.

Dear Chris, my wish was to show you that.

The struggle goes on.

Not necessarily in a head-on way.

But the fight for dignity goes on. We have not given up.

The ultimate weapon is on sale everywhere, and it is free.

Its name is intelligence.

This is what you taught me.


Happy birthday, Chris.


Ramuntcho Matta, June 2014