Centre for Contemporary Images - Saint-Gervais Genève
April 12 - June 18, 2000

Michael Snow - Panoramique
Photographic Works and Films 1962-1999

Opening : Wednesday April 12, 2000 at 18:00.
exhibition open: Tuesday-Sunday, 12:00 to 18:00
            Centre for Contemporary Images

Michael Snow was once described as “the avant-gardist of the avant-gard” by a New-York Times columnist. Since his first exhibition in Toronto (1955), Michael Snow has continuously worked in the fields of painting, sculpture, film, video, photography, holography, artist’s books and music. This exhibition focuses on his filmic and photogrpahic works. About 50 photographic works (a.o. photographic prints, slide shows, collages) are shown at the Centre for Contemporary Images and at the Mamco, and an exhaustive retrospective of his films is screened at the Cinéma Spoutnik.

Michael Snow’s last European large retrospective took place in 1978. His visual artwork does not benefit from the same degree of recognition in Europe as it does in North America, despite the fact that he has always probed the photographic and filmic medium with equal rigor and insight. The exhibition will give the audience a chance to discover Snow’s key works from the sixties and seventies, and it the same time will show how Snow has extended and broadened his analyses over the past years using new processes.

Michael SNow was born in 1929 in Toronto, where he still lives. In 1976, he was the first Canadian artist to hav a personal show at the New York Moma. The European public discovered him through his masterpiece film Wavelength, screened in 1967 at the 4th International Competition of Experimental Cinema in Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium. He is now largely considered a major Canadian artist, and has been commissioned (with Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg) to make a short film for the 25th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2000.

Besides his work in visual arts, Michael Snow has been touring the entire world as a musician in the free-jazz CCMC (Canadian Creative Music Collective) for over 30 years.

Michael Snow - films
To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror, 1991, col., sound, 53 minutes
See You Later / Au Revoir, 1990, col., sound, 18 minutes
Seated Figures, 1988, col., sound, 42 minutes
So Is This, 1982, col., mute, 43 minutes
Presents, 1981-82, col., sound, 90 minutes
Breakfast (Table Top Dolly), 1972-76, col., sound, 15 minutes
Rameau’s Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen, 1974, col., sound, 260 minutes
La région centrale, 1971, col., sound, 190 minutes
Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film, 1970, col., sound, 20 minutes
One Second in Montreal, 1969, bl&w, mute, 20 minutes
Dripping Water, 1969, with Joyce Wieland, bl&w, mute, 10 minutes (lost)
´ (Back and Forth), 1968-69, col., sound, 53 minutes
Standard TIme, 1967, col., sound, 8 minutes
Wavelength, 1966-67, col., sound, 45 minutes
Short Shave, 1965, bl&w, sound, 4 minutes (lost)
New York Eye and Ear Control, 1964, bl&w, sound, 34 minutes
A to Z, 1956, blue & white, mute, 7 minutes

Representation might so to say become almost abstract at certain points in Snow’s films, because it has nothing to do with figuration. Clearly, images appear as subsitutes for what they represent. (...) In photography and in film, the loss of the third dimension introduces a radical gap between reality and its image. Even the most “realistic” filmic representation is as close to a hieroglyph as it is to its subject. This fact, related to the true power of hallucination and information of realistic images, is one of the many forces of Snow’s films. (inspired by “Michael Snow: a Filmography”, by Max Knowles, trafic No 32, Paris, Winter 1999).

Michael Snow on his photographic works:

“The actors in the events-that-become-objects that are my photographic works are the manipoulable variables of photogrpahic image-making.

That cameras are mirrors with memories is the first important understanding. That “subjects” are transformed to become photographs is the second. The documentary nature of photography is a precious thing. In most cases when we look at a photograph in a newspaper or magazine, we go straight to its subject. I do, too, but to continue the depth of what has been called “art” with photography requires not nobler subjects but a making-available to the spectator of the equally amazing transformations through which the subject goes to become the photograph.

The transformation form three dimensions to two is the most obvious one, but its obviousness apparently make it disappear from utilization in most photographic art but my own. The three-dimensional to two- dimensional transformation in photographs measn this: jsut as in representational painting, forms that were in three-dimensional life separate mand hierarchical (i.e., a human being is more important than a chair). are now equal. Theyx may maintain their moral hierarchy in our reading of a photograph of the 3D world but, in fact, as an incredibly thin distribution of chemicals, they are now all on the same physical plane, a physical object, the support of the image, usually paper or plastic.

As has ever been the case in the best painting, a shape - for example, the demarcated area between a body and a bent arm - is as important in the new planar world as is the representation of the arm itself.

I am trying to continue the soloist aspect of painting. I have added the camera and its products to the traditional tools of the painter/sculptor. My photographic works are an art of the studio, not of la vie quotidienne.”

Michael Snow “Notes on the Whys and Hows of my Photographic Works”, in Michael Snow, Panoramique. Photographic Works and Films 1962-1999, exhib. cat., Brussels-Paris-Geneva, 1999/2000.

Films screenings:
Thursday April 13, 19:00
A to Z, 1956, 6 min
New York Eye and Ear COtrol, 1964, 34 min.
Breakfast (Table Top Dolly), 1972-76, 15 min.

Thursday April 13, 21:00
Standard Time, 1967, 8 min.
Wavelength, 1966-67, 45 min.

Friday April 14, 19:00
´ (Back and Forth), 1968-69, 53 min.
One Second in Montreal, 1969, 20 min.

Friday April 14, 21:00
Seated Figures, 1988, 42 min.
So is This, 1982, 43 min.

Centre for Contemporary Images, Saint-Gervais Geneva, 5 rue du Temple, 1201 Geneva. Tel. 908 20 00

Michael Snow “Fragments d’une rétrospective 1962-1999”

April 25 - September 3, 2000

opening: April 25, 18:00
exhibition open: Tuesday - Sunday 12:00-18:00 / Tuesday till 21:00

Dominique Païni, Director of the CInémathèque française in Paris, and Françoise Ninghetto, curator at the mamco will discuss Michael Snow’s works on Wednesday April 26, 20:00 at the Cinéma Spoutnik.

Mamco, 10 rue des Vieux-Grenadiers, 1205 Geneva. Tel. 320 61 22.

Cinéma Spoutnik
Michael Snow : a Retrospective

- Saturday April 15, 17h:
"Rameau's Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young by Wilma Schoen)", 1974, 290', in the presence of Michael Snow.

- Sunday April 16, 17h:
"La Région centrale", 1971, 180'

- Tuesday April 18, 21h:
carte blanche to Amy Granat of the New York Film-makers Coop, with a program of short experimental films

- Wednesday April 19, 21h:
carte blanche to Amy Granat

- Thursday April 20 avrli, 21 h:
"Presents", 1980-81, 90'; "Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film", 1970, 20'

- Friday April 21, 21h:
"To Lavoisier Who Died in the Reign of Terror", 1991, 53'; "See You Later/Au revoir", 1990, 18'

- Saturday April 22, 21h:
"Wavelength", 1966-67, 45'; "Standard Time", 1967, 8'

- Sunday April 23, 19h:
"Back and Forth", 1969, 50'; "One Second in Montreal", 1969, 26'

- Thursday April 27, 21h:
"A to Z", 1956, 7'; "Breakfast (Table Top Dolly)", 1972-76, 15'; "New York Eye and Ear Control", 1964, 34'

- Friday April 28, 21h:
"So Is This", 1982, 43'; "Seated Figures", 1988, 42'

- Saturday April 29, 21h:
"Presents", 1980-81, 90'; "Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film", 1970, 20'

- Sunday April 30, 19h:
"To Lavoisier Who Died in the Reign of Terror", 1991, 53'; "See You Later/Au revoir", 1990, 18'.

Cinéma Spoutnik, 11, rue de la Coulouvrenière, 1204 Genève, 1st floor. Enquiries: tél. 328 09 26, e-mail:

Michael Snow - Panoramique. Photographic works and films 1962-1999, ed. Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, Centre national de la photogrpahie, Paris, Centre pour l’image contemporaine, Siant-Gervais Genève, 1999. 128 pages. French/English texts by: Michael Snow, Hubert Damisch, Alain Fleischer, Walter Klepac.
Swiss francs: 30.-
To order copies, click here.

This exhibition was co-curated by the Centre for Contemporary Images in Geneva, the Société des Expositions du Palais des beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Centre national de la photographie in Paris.
In Geneva, the exhibition takes place partly at the Centre for Contemporary Images and partly at the Mamco. The retrospective of films takes place partly at the Centre for Contemporary Images and as a hole at the Cinéma Spoutnik.

The exhibition was realized with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada and the Canadian Embassy in Switzerland.

The Centre for Contemporary Images is supported by Télésonique S.A.