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SARKIS: Alive and After

Friday, September 22, 2006
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street

September 22 – December 9, 2006

Opening and Reception for the Artist: September 21, 5:30–7:30pm
Public Lecture: Tuesday, September 26, 7:30pm

Free and Open to the Public

San Francisco Art Institute
Walter and McBean Galleries
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
415.771.7020 /

Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00am – 6:00pm

San Francisco Art Institute is pleased to present Sarkis: Alive and After, the first major US exhibition to examine the work of Paris-based artist Sarkis, bringing long overdue attention to this prominent figure of the global art scene whose career spans more than 40 years. Curated by Hou Hanru, SFAI’s new Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, this exhibition presents an installation of 39 films, a suite of watercolor drawings, texts, photographs, and site-specific neon works.

“This complex and enduring project opens up a space in which the audience can enter into a continuous dialogue with the artist, and with the fantastic world that the artist has created through his infinite dialogue with other creators,” explains Hou Hanru. “With Alive and After, SFAI’s galleries become a site of production, a laboratory, a workshop . . . Sarkis’ practice not only includes his own productions, but also the exchanges between himself, his works, and the audience. His work represents the oscillation between exile and freedom, cultural difference and social restructuring, which are highly significant and influential ideas in our age of globalization.”

Born in Istanbul to an Armenian family, Sarkis currently lives and works in Paris. Evolving out of his experience as an “exile,” Sarkis’ work can be seen as a meditation on the tensions between memory and space. His works are profoundly concerned with humanity, and “unfold a personal universe from the contrasts between light and darkness, green and red, material and immaterial, appearance and disappearance . . .” Simultaneously, Sarkis illuminates the relationship between cinema and contemporary art. As writer/critic Érik Bullot describes, “At a time when the relationships between cinema and contemporary art are multiplying and questioning the different frontiers of artistic practice, it is enlightening to observe the delicate and violent film work of Sarkis.”

A free public lecture given by the artist will take place at SFAI on September 26 at 7:30pm.
For the full press release visit:

Sarkis Film Selections

In conjunction with the exhibition, a complementary series of rare avant-garde films, selected by the artist as influential to his work, will be screened at SFAI in October and November. The film screening dates are as follows, all screenings are free and take place at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted.

10/03: The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
10/10: The Color of Pomegranates, Sergei Paradjanov
10/17: Ice, Robert Kramer
10/24: Stalker, Andreï Tarkovski
10/31: One Plus One (Sympathy for the Devil), Jean-Luc Godard
11/04 & 11/05: Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks

(10-hour film shown in 3 parts both days: 11am–2pm, 2:30pm–5:30pm, 7pm–10pm)
(TBA): The Seasons, Artavazd Pelechian


An exhibition catalogue with texts by Hou Hanru, Érik Bullot, and Okwui Enwezor is forthcoming.

San Francisco Art Institute

Founded in 1871, San Francisco Art Institute is one of the US’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art. SFAI’s academic and public programs further the relationship between the practices and theories of contemporary art. SFAI’s School of Studio Practice is centered on the development of the artist’s vision through studio-based experiments and the understanding that the artist is an essential part of society. The School of Interdisciplinary Studies is based on the premise that critical thinking and writing—informed by an in-depth understanding of theory and practice—are essential for engaging global society. At SFAI, art is a way of thinking. For more information, visit or call 800.345.7324.

Credit Line

The exhibition Sarkis: Alive and After and Sarkis’ public lecture are supported by a generous grant from Étant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art. This exhibition has also been made possible by the support of Galerie Jean Brolly, Paris. SFAI’s Public Programs are supported in part by the Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax fund.
Added to the calendar on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 5:05PM
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