Close Up

13 - 21 July 2024: From Bliss to Garden Pieces: Gregory Markopoulos and Margaret Tait


Curated by Peter Todd, this programme is centred on two films by visionary filmmakers Gregory J. Markopoulos and Margaret Tait. Both films centre on place; interior in Bliss and exterior in Garden Pieces. It also celebrates the preservation, advocacy, and restoration necessary to continued circulation of such works. Bliss is by Markopoulos who, in the last ten years of his life, toiled over Eniaios, the ultimate reworking of his entire film oeuvre. It was fully edited and notated but left unprinted at the time of his death. Garden Pieces is by Margaret Tait who would describe her life’s work as making film poemsRobert Beavers, while making his own films, has taken forward the late Markopoulos' work, with Berlin restoration workshops steadily presenting fresh 16mm prints of the epic Eniaios at the Temenos site in Arcadia, Greece.


Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1967, 6 min, 16mm

Dedicated to Alice BurkhardBliss was the first film Markopoulos made after relocating from the USA to Europe. A kaleidoscopic portrait of the interior of the Byzantine church of St. John, Hydra, Greece, it was composed and superimposed in-camera in the moment of filming.

Garden Pieces
Margaret Tait, 1998, 12 min, 16mm

Margaret Tait’s last film. “the beachcomber artist, the searching, experimental spirit, so quintessentially Margaret, and a poignant sense of her own mortality: the camera circles round a summer garden, lush with life, seeking shadows within the light, pausing momentarily as it passes over an empty chair.” – Gerda Stevenson

The Suppliant
Robert Beavers, 2010, 5 min, 16mm

Robert Beavers’s The Suppliant is an exquisitely wrought, five-minute portrait, both of the small statue of the title and of the artist/friend (filmed in the apartment of Jacques Dehornois, Brooklyn Heights) in whose apartment it resides.” – Tony Pipolo

We Saw
Peter Todd, 2009, 4 min, 16mm

“Amazement at what is everyday and the mortality of it all; the seasons pass by and return again, but it’s always slightly different than the year before. And we sit by and watch, a year older as well”. – IDFA, 2009


The programme will include readings:  (Things) Not Moving Towards the Circle features words from Beavers, Cox and Markopoulos. In Where I am is here: a Patchwork for Margaret Tait. A celebration, an argument, some voices writer, editor Gareth Evans reading celebrates the work of Tait through his own and other voices. With Gareth Evans, Lucy Parker director of Solidarity and who like Todd has worked on the restoration of Eniaios, and Peter Todd.

(Things) Not Moving Towards the Circle
Natasha Cox and Bella Marin. Robert Beavers, Natasha Cox, Gregory J Markopoulos. fieldnotes 6 spring, London, 2024.

“Rather than seeing the saving of Markopoulos’s Eniaos and its projection as a burden, I take it as stimulus to create a vision for Film. With my close circle of friends, we realise a work that Markopoulos was not able to see in his own lifetime. Let the future decide what it is worth. I find it possible to be active still on the side of love and friendship.” – Robert Beavers

Where I am is here: a patchwork for Margaret Tait. A celebration, an argument, some voices
Gareth EvansSubjects and Sequences: A Margaret Tait Reader. Ed. Peter Todd and Benjamin Cook. LUX, London, 2004.

“she was the light-teller of daily tales, hers a borderless philosophy: reading all scripts, from signage grabs to nature’s text, from boats, leaves, houses, streets, to soil, rock, traceries of war.” – Gareth Evans.

Peter Todd has been a leading figure in the preservation and presentation of Tait’s work after her death, including curating an international touring programme of her films for LUX and retrospectives of her work at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the BFI, while continuing his own practice both as a maker and curator.

Thanks: Robert Beavers, Sarah Christian, Temenos Verein (Zurich), Estate of Margaret Tait.

In fond memory of Mel Gooding, Helga Tait and Marian Taylor.