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Agnès Varda: Desire to See | Fahey Klein Gallery

Black Panthers meeting for the liberation of Huey P. Newton, Oakland, 1968

Musée Magazine

March 20, 2024

By Aundréa Verdi

Photo Edited by Kelly Woodyard


Agnès Varda: Desire to See

Fahey Klein Gallery


Art, in its many forms, reflects our lives. It encapsulates the complexities, emotions, and experiences intrinsic to human existence. A particular artist's body of work can intricately weave the narrative threads of their experiences, emotions, and growth into a riveting visual capsule.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery presents a journey into the world of Agnès Varda, a luminary of the French New Wave cinema. The exhibition, “Desire to See: Photographs by Agnès Varda,” on display through April 13th, marks a historic moment as the first dedicated showcase of Varda’s photographic legacy in the United States. Through a curated selection of vintage prints and newly unearthed posthumous works, this retrospective provides a compelling narrative of Varda’s multifaceted life and artistic evolution. 

At the exhibition’s core lies Varda’s self-portraits, revealing an intimate exploration of the artist’s identity. Each frame invites viewers to immerse themselves in the expansiveness of Varda’s creativity. Beyond the realm of self-exploration, Varda’s lens extends to capture the essence of her peers across many artistic mediums, from Alexander Calder to Harrison Ford. Through these arresting portraits, Varda immortalizes her subjects. She champions her radical vision and fervent engagement with the cultural milieu of her era.

"Desire to See" also showcases the breadth of Varda's documentary photography, spanning diverse locales, including Cuba, Italy, California, and her beloved France. These visual chronicles serve as poignant snapshots of Varda’s extensive travels, depicting the vibrancy of everyday life with a palpable sense of immediacy and authenticity. Moreover, the collection illustrates the seamless integration of Varda’s photographic and filmmaking endeavors, underscoring the interconnectedness of her creative pursuits.

Central to Varda’s artistic ethos is her zeal for experimentation and her unapologetic embrace of her feminine perspective. Whether capturing a Spanish street's charm or a Chinese craftsman's hard work, Varda infuses each image with a distinctly feminine gaze, challenging conventional notions of storytelling and representation.

One cannot help but be enraptured by Varda’s enduring legacy, transcending the confines of any singular medium. Her boundless curiosity, vivid imagination, and unwavering passion permeate each of her photographs. Varda's spirit shines through the exhibition, illuminating the beauty of her oeuvre.

In essence, “Desire to See: Photographs by Agnès Varda" is a testament  to the potency of artistic expression and its profound ability to evoke introspection. Agnès Varda invites us to embark on a path of self-discovery with ourselves and the world around us, guided by her visionary perspective.