Metamorphosis. Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers

In Events and Exhibitions / October 14, 2014

Ladislas Starewitch, Fleur de fougère, 1949, St10. © Collection Martin-Starewitch. All rights reserved.
Ladislas Starewitch, Fleur de fougère, 1949, St10. © Collection Martin-Starewitch. All rights reserved.

The exhibition Metamorphosis presents the works of four key figures in animation cinema: the Russian resident in Paris, Ladislas Starewitch, a pioneer in the genre, the Czech master Jan Švankmajer  and the unclassifiable Quay Brothers.

The exhibition swings back and forth between the specific world of each of these artists and their shared universe, with the direct participation of Jan Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers, who are producing an installation specially for the show.

The leading thread is a presentation of their careers in cinema and the pieces they have used and constructed to make their films: sets, puppets, drawings and objects. Alongside it, an array of literary, artistic and cinematographic references illustrate the influences recognised by the artists: fairytales, horror stories, the world of dreams, the cabinet of curiosities, pre-enlightenment science, alchemy, magic and illusionism come together in the exhibition galleries in the form of works by foremost creators like Francisco de Goya, James Ensor, Alfred Kubin, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Méliès and Luis Buñuel.

Quay Brothers, frame of Street of Crocodiles, 1986 © Koninck Studios Ltd. Courtesy of La Casa Encendida. All rights reserved.
Quay Brothers, frame of Street of Crocodiles, 1986 © Koninck Studios Ltd. Courtesy of La Casa Encendida. All rights reserved.

This is an imaginary that ranges from dark romanticism, symbolism and surrealism to the present day, especially in genres regarded as marginal, which in the hands of these animators become the most radical modernity. The exhibition sets out to rediscover and awaken curiosity in a brotherhood of artists who with their radicalness, imagination and their very stance are open to reinterpretation in the framework of culture today and a contextualization of their potential for subversion.

The Metamorphosis experience (the exhibition plus its parallel activities of a film cycle and talks) begs a reflection on the curiosity/knowledge duality and the new role of the marginal in contemporary creation. At a time of oversaturation of information, it is important to redefine the concept of marginality.

The exhibition Metamorphosis will be complemented with a series of film screenings in original format from the authors. The series relates the work of the pioneer of puppet animation, Ladislas Starewitch, surrealist Jan Švankmajer film and metaphysical and obscure films of the Brothers Quay.

The exhibition is curated by Carolina Lopez Caballero

Jan Švankmajer, frame of Alice, 1987, courtesy of Athanor Ltd. Film Production Company. All rights reserved.
Jan Švankmajer, frame of Alice, 1987, courtesy of Athanor Ltd. Film Production Company. All rights reserved.

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