Paris Calligrammes
by Ulrike Ottinger

Contemporary Fine Arts is proud to announce two screenings of Ulrike Ottinger’s captivating film Paris Calligrammes (2020) on the occasion of this year’s Gallery Weekend. This intimate portrait of the pulsating 60s Paris and an autobiography at once, is a moving journey through memories.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at 5:30 pm

Sunday, September 13, 2020, at 11 am

KLICK Kino, Windscheidstraße 19, 10627 Berlin


“In 1962, as a young artist, I came to live and work in Paris. That period until 1969, when I left the city, was not only one of the most formative for me, it was also an era of intellectual, political, and social upheaval in modern history. The film Paris Calligrammes combines my personal memories of the 1960s with a portrait of the city and a social cartography of the age. Like Guillaume Appolinaire’s poetry collection Calligrammes: Poèmes de la paix et de la guerre (Caligrams: Poems of Peace and War), I have given it the form of a filmic “picture-poem” (calligram) in which the words and images, complemented by language, sound, and music, form a mosaic that emerges from the vivacity of those exciting years while speaking to the fragility of all cultural and political achievements. The Ariadne thread through the film is a walk across Paris with many stops where topics are raised out of any chronological order. In the tradition of the flâneur, I visit focal points in the city that were meaningful to me personally and to the story of the 1960s, sites where significant political events transpired, important cultural and artistic encounters occurred, and new communal ways of life evolved. Not only was Paris in that time a “melting pot” of intellectuals and artists from all over the world, it was also undergoing the difficult political era of decolonization. The War in Algeria, and later the Vietnam War, over-shadowed the period of reawakening after the Second World War and brought people from the colonies and political conflicts into the capital. Thus my friendships that developed in those years were so international and colorful, so exciting and intense.”

Ulrike Ottinger