[artinfo] EYE presents Béla Tarr's first exhibition

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Fri Feb 17 00:27:33 CET 2017

Béla Tarr
Till the End of the World
January 21-May 7, 2017

EYE Filmmuseum
IJpromenade 1
1031 KT Amsterdam
The Netherlands


From January 21 to May 7, 2017, EYE is presenting 
the exhibition Béla Tarr: Till the End of the 
World. Béla Tarr is widely regarded as one of the 
most influential film authors of the past 30 
years. He is a master of the magnificent long 
take, a master of wonderfully shot, melancholic 
films that express the human condition. For the 
exhibition at EYE, Tarr, who after his 2011 film 
The Turin Horse decided not to make any more 
films, has picked up the camera one more time to 
shoot his very last scene. It is his anger about 
how refugees are treated in Europe, and 
especially in Hungary, that drove him to make a 
poetic, philosophical and ultimately political 

Béla Tarr (Pécs, Hungary, 1955) made his mark 
internationally with Damnation (1988) and 
enhanced his reputation and standing with the 
more than seven-hour-long Satantango (1994) and 
Werckmeister Harmonies (2000). All three films 
can be considered a commentary on the 
vulnerability of human civilization. Unexpected, 
threatening developments seem to bring out the 
animal instincts in people and rapidly any sense 
of mutual solidarity in a closed community. These 
are sweeping, earthly films that portray mankind 
in his existential despair. However, an 
occasional glimpse of deliverance appears, when 
the drink flows, the orchestra plays and bar 
guests lose themselves in drunken merriment.

The work of Tarr reveals a sombre view of the 
world, in which people have little control of 
their own existence. The characters in his films 
feel abandoned by life. The films are chiefly set 
in dreary surroundings dominated by decay, 
disintegration and disinterest. An outsider 
sometimes appears, upsetting the established 
patterns within a small community. But Tarr also 
makes it clear that there can be no escape. Life 
remains as it is. As one of the great masters of 
contemporary cinema, Tarr has carved out this 
bleak view of the world a body of work that is 
hypnotic in its sheer visual force. More than 
anyone else, he has the courage to trust the 
image. After Damnation (1988) he filmed in black 
and white only, or rather in shades of grey, 
using extreme long shots in which he lets the 
camera "explore" spaces or landscapes very 
slowly. In combination with the almost total lack 
of a traditional story line, his style of filming 
reinforces the state of mind of his characters 
and the futility of existence. Tarr shows great 
compassion for his characters by infusing the 
rain, the mud, the wind, the disintegration and 
the despair with a poetry that testifies to his 

For EYE, Tarr has made a filmic installation that 
is a cross between a film, a theatre decor and an 

"I still consider film not as show business, but 
as the seventh art. I have never been interested 
in stories, because the story is forever the 
same. Just read the Old Testament; it's all in 
there. We don't need to tell any new stories, 
since we always end up telling the same old 

Curated by Béla Tarr and Jaap Guldemond (EYE Director of Exhibitions / curator)

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