Featuring puppets, drawings, prints, sculptures, paintings, posters, photographs, books, objects and other creations, the exhibition Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers reviews the cinematic career of each artist and the pieces they made for their films.
Curated by Carolina López Caballero, an expert on animation, the show delves into the work of these four filmmakers, who share an eccentric universe where innocence, cruelty, voluptuousness, magic and madness coexist. The exhibition will also include pieces by other artists who have inspired Jan Švankmajer and the Quay brothers, including Goya, Ensor, Kubin, Arcimboldo, Méliès and Buñuel.
Though not widely known, these filmmakers have been and remain highly influential in several fields of contemporary creation, and have been cited as inspiring role models by American film directors Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, among others. This is the first time that the work of these four artists has been presented in detail and depth, revealing the explicit dialogue between them: the American Quay brothers (1947) are professed admirers of the Czech creator Jan Švankmajer (1934), and all three are indebted to the work of Russian animation pioneer Ladislas Starewitch (1882-1965). The exhibition, co-produced with the CCCB in Barcelona, aims to revive and inspire new curiosity about a group of artists whose radical ideas, imagination and stance deserve to be reread in our cultural present, putting their subversive potential into context. The Metamorphosis experience, the exhibition and its related activities propose a reflection on the curiosity/knowledge tandem and the new role of the marginal in contemporary art.
On the list of parallel activities, a highlight is the very recommendable museum tour. Also, from 7 October clips from some of Ladislas Starewitch's films will be screened at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales [Natural Science Museum] in the company of the animals they feature. An amateur entomologist, it was Starewitch's passion for these creatures that led him to take up film, hoping to give life and expression to the desiccated insects he studied. Finally, from 22 October the Museo Lázaro Galdiano will display selected gems from its collection related to the universe of Jan Švankmajer. Admission to the museum is free with the ticket you will find in the exhibition pamphlet.