Gus Van Sant

25.10.2017 – 07.01.2018



The exhibition Gus Van Sant/Icons proposes the first Swiss retrospective of the films and artistic creations of the American filmmaker. A genuine multi-disciplinary journey, it is divided into five sections, each in turn exploring an aspect of Gus Van Sant’s creative force and outlining the contours of a bountiful and impertinent universe.

“Photography” encompasses a selection of Polaroid pictures taken by Gus Van Sant during casting sessions for his first films. Hundreds of actors, writers and anonymous individuals posed for his camera. Even after having abandoned his Polaroid at the end of the 1990s, the filmmaker continued to make photographs, especially for fashion magazines and rock bands.

“Cinepark” gives us a glimpse of Gus Van Sant’s cinema, a sensitive template of this moment in post-modern American history. The figurehead of the “independent” cinema revival, Van Sant was the instigator of an artistic liberty that radiates from the fringes. His heterogeneous filmography forces us to question the concept of a film auteur.

“Constellations” evokes Gus Van Sant’s artistic filiations, from the omnipresence of his city of adoption, Portland, to the major influences that shaped his esthetic – among others, the Beat Generation and the American writer William S. Burroughs.Gus Van Sant’s paintings and drawings were done at different times in his life. Some of the collages date from the 1970s, whereas his series of large-format watercolors exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles date from 2011. Exhibited in the “Painting” section, they provide an unexpected complement to the very eclectic artistic universe of Gus Van Sant.

Lastly, the “Music” section expresses Van Sant’s interest in film music that he sees as a language of its own. This section contains the original soundtracks specially written for his films, original creations of Van Sant himself, as well as a selection of music videos that he made for David Bowie, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Hansons, among others.

A book published by Actes Sud, supervised by Matthieu Orléan, accompagnies the exhibition. A Gus Van Sant retrospective will take place at the Cinémathèque suisse in the fall of 2017 (November - December with a launch at the Capitole at the end of October).

Preview: Tuesday, October 24 at 6pm



Matthieu Orléan, curator of the exhibition at La Cinémathèque française, with the curatorial collaboration of Lydia Dorner, assistant curator at the Musée de l’Elysée


Interview with Gus Van Sant

The film retrospective at the Cinémathèque suisse

This retrospective, which covers the entire film career of Gus Van Sant, will be presented in November/December in the theaters of the Cinémathèque suisse. It will begin with the screening of Drugstore Cowboy on October 25 at 8:30 pm, in the presence of Gus Van Sant, in the magical world of the Capitole Theater, built in 1928.

The films will then be screened at the the partner movie theaters of the Cinémathèque suisse. 

Detailed programme on