The Gleaners and I

fullNow 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.

Picture120091121091135According to Varda, women are the original gleaners. She opens the film with this painting done in 1867 by Millet, titled “The Gleaners.”

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.maxresdefault

One of the sweet moments in the film is when Varda and her film crew stumble upon a reproduction of the famous Millet painting in a thrift store.still_gleaners

And next to the painting was a wheat chaff, so she posed for a self portrait.Picture320091121091113

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.tumblr_np7ivbkwju1qfdatho1_1280

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.

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  1. Pingback: Eight Reasons You Should be at the GLEAN Opening this Thursday | GLEANings

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