Robert Beavers (Brookline, Massachusetts, 1949) is an American experimental filmmaker. He left Deerfield Academy in 1965 before graduating to move to New York to make movies. He lived in New York until 1967 when he and his partner, Gregory Markopoulos, left the United States for Europe. Although in the seventies and eighties his films were rarely shown, in recent years many institutions have made retrospectives of his work: the Tate Modern in London, the Whitney Museum in New York, the Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and the Filmmuseum in Vienna, among many others.
“Animula vagula blandula
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis? In Loca
Pallidula rigida nudula
nec ut soles dabis Iocos”
“Little soul, you charming little wanderer, my body's guest and partner, where are you off to now? Some where without color, savage and bare; You'll crack no more of your jokes once you're there.” ― Hadrian
Pitcher of Colored Light was filmed between 2000 and 2004 in my mother’s home in Massachusetts, and I remember filming the material for The Suppliant in the apartment of my friend Jacques Dehornois in Brooklyn and the footage for Among the Eucalyptuses in Piraeus and Nafplion, Greece during the same period. ‘Greeting mortality’ was already at the center of my filming, and it continues in these films, in fact I had considered editing all three as one film. The ascetic direction is matched by a force drawing me back into life; in these years I carried with me Goethe’s poem Gesang der Geister über den Wassern and one by Emily Dickinson, both dialogues of spirits.
When I consider the five films in this program, I come to the common phrase,
‘a guest in the world’ because I lived without a permanent residence and as a guest in my mother’s house or in my friends’ apartment in the Piraeus suburb of Nikaia, or Jacques’s apartment in New York and most importantly as a guest in Dieter & Cecile Staehelin’s home in Switzerland.
Within the five films there is also a divide between the emotive color of the three films - Pitcher…, Listening… and “Der Klang…- that carries the sound of these intimately lived spaces and the other two films – Suppliant and Eucalyptuses -in which the presence of statues suggests the silent echo of male solitude.