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I entered the gallery space at the serpentine to see the show by Jonas Mekas, a well-known artist name to me, yet whose works I only knew a few of. Straight from the outset, I was touched by the text in the gallery written by artist himself. I didn’t document the words so I can’t fully remember the actual wordings, but he mentioned something like – in his long life it was daunting to do a retrospective, and yet he had the luck to remember mainly the happy events. Truth be told, either he has a selective memory or it was an artistic choice – it doesn’t matter as the show emanates a certain happiness of a life well lived behind the camera. Using outtakes from the multiple films and other media he has captured throughout his life as an artist in New York he created an atmosphere that to me felt like walking through a ‘family album’. The glimpses he offers are observations from his life and surroundings. Yet so many of the scenes conjured a sense of familiarity, and maybe that is where his genius lies – there is something universal about how he translates his perceptions and observations – something about the human condition. The works are visual poems, some short like haiku’s some maybe even like sonnets? The warmth and generosity in the way it was all put together was to me a reminder of how taking the time to observe, and in his case documenting, daily life and beauty in its multiple variations can indeed lead to a life well-lived.

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