Gregory Markopolos and Robert Beavers
Two major figures of the American Avant Garde cinema from the 1950s to the present are Gregory Markopoulos and Robert Beavers. Having met in 1966 in New York, they soon moved to Europe, splitting their time between Greece, Italy and Switzerland. Markopoulos, the older of the two was already a major figure in American cinema; Beavers, only 17 at the time, began in the role of the apprentice, but was soon making major works of his own. Markopoulos’ films are characterized by their classical themes, attention to color and exquisite craft. For his part, Beavers has pioneered certain aspects of camera manipulation and movement together with an intricate and masterful use of sound. Both filmmakers are intimately engaged in architecture both as a historic subject and a site for the filmic manipulation of space.
Towards the end of the 1970s, Markopoulos conceived of a space which he would later call the Temenos, for the projection of both of their films. Temenos, a Greek word meaning “a piece of land set apart” was initially inspired by Markopoulos’ trip to Greece in the 1950s, particularly to the amphitheater and the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus. They eventually settled on a site near Markopoulos’ father’s native town of Lyssarea in the Pelopenese. Viewers of films at the Temenos gather in the town for four days in a kind of cinematic pilgrimage; at the end of each day they hike up to a screen and projector in the middle of an isolated field for five hours of challenging films under the night sky.
For both of the artists, the Temenos proved to be vital as both a conceptual and literal site for the projection of their work. For Markopoulos in particular, the advent of the Temenos was indivisible with the creation of his immense final film, Eniaios. An utterly singular work in the history of film, Eniaios is comprised of 22 film cycles, each cycle made up of several films, the total being over one hundred films and approximately 80 hours in length. After Markopoulos’ death in 1992, Beavers is now responsible both for the continuation of the Temenos screenings and also for the restoration and printing of the Eniaios film.
Markopoulos and Beavers films have been shown in a number of venues including the Museum of Modern Art, The New York Film Festival, The Whitney Museum, The Tate Gallery, The Harvard Film Archive, The Louvre Museum, The Pacific Film Archive and the Osterreichisches Filmmuseum.