Alejandro Jodorowsky’s retrospective at CAPC in Bordeaux is a well executed display of the Chilean Artist’s complex portfolio.
Born in Chile in 1929, Alejandro Jodorowsky has been described as a “filmmaker, playwright, play director, actor, author, poet, musician, comics writer and spiritual guru” and this retrospective in Bordeaux clearly highlights his diverse career. Beginning his career in theatre and forming his own troupe, Jodorowsky became interested in cinema before becoming a founding member of anarchistic avant-garde Panic Movement of performance artists. He then moved into feature length films before developing his own spiritual system called “psychomagic” which is a combination of his interests in Tarot, Zen Buddhism, Alchemy and Shamanism. It has been described that his work “has questioned and changed the way we think about art” and the multifaceted approach has certainly brought avant-garde art forms to new audiences and has attracted cult followings.
Jodorowsky is clearly influenced by popular culture by the combinations of different mediums he uses in his work . His use of film during the growing cinema industry of the Twentieth Century and his intense interest in Tarot which developed show this. This relationship between Jodorowsky and popular culture was two-way. Jadorowsky heavily influenced popular culture and his 1970 film El Topo became a big hit on the midnight movie circuit in the USA.
This extraordinary journey and Jodorowsky varied array of interests are highlighted in this exhibition. The exhibition fills the entirety of the nave of CAPC and is split into different sections, each one focussing on a different medium of Jodorwsky’s work allowing the audience to emerse themselves in the full Jodorowsky experience . Each section is filled with a range of material, including art work, posters, film clips and archives in the form of books or photographs.
The exhibition space has been designed by Andreas Angelidakis. It opens with a long wall covering the length of the Nave, showing his comic-strips. There is a section called “Tower”, a pyramid structure featuring a copy of his plans for the movie of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune which was never made. It is built in a Tower shape because Jadorowsky locked himself in a castle to write the screenplay. A semicircular section shows his reproductions of the Tarot de Marseille a traditional set of mass-produced tarot cards which feature in his own spiritual system called “psychomagic”.
Each section has its own character allowing the visitor to clearly focus and familiarise themselves with each particular fragment of Jodorowsky’s work. In the centre of the Nave is space showing trailers to his films, giving the visitor the clearest indication of Jodorowsky’s avant-garde mode. The range of mediums and sections are easy to follow and you leave with a well-rounded understanding of Jodorowsky’s interests and work.
Alejandro Jodorowsky retrospective is at CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux until 31st October 2015.