Now that I’m “done” with the work for the Glean residency, (pending installation,) I finally had some time to watch one of my favorite films of all time: Agnes Varda’s “The Gleaners and I.” It’s pretty much the only movie that I own, and it’s great to revisit it every so often. This film is a beautiful portrait of the practice of gleaning through the eyes of an aging woman. I won’t spoil the movie for you by showing some of my favorite moments–it’s truly a treat to hear Varda narrate the film and see the world through her eyes.
In France, gleaning is not just a common practice, it’s actually written into the law that for all commercial crops, there is a post-harvest period of time after November 1st when the public can enter the land and forage for what’s left. We also learn that people from all economic classes take advantage of this law–some are even chefs who are eager to gather up perfectly ripe and free fruits and vegetables to serve their customers. The film shows many examples of urban gleaning as well–including an artist who finds their materials in the streets. This screen shot points out that stooping is a common denominator amongst all gleaners.
Varda is brilliant where she brings her own story into this documentary. I think it’s one big reason why I return to this film so often. Summer always reminds me of my first art residency a decade ago at the Center for Art in Wood. Now I’ll also always think of Les glaneurs et la glaneuse. It’s been a really great past five months being able to glean at the Metro Waste Facility and then working hard to put this show together. I can’t wait to see it installed next week.
Opening reception – Thursday, August 11 from 6-9PM
The Bison Building 421 NE 10th Ave. Portland
Gallery hours: Friday, Saturday and Sundays 12-5pm through August 27.