Metamorphosis

Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers

Metamorphosis is an exhibition that establishes a dialogue between the four masters of animated films: Ladislas Starewitch, Jan Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers. With a strongly european style, these artisans have become authentic references for the traditional animated films created with stop-motion and other techniques. Although they are not contemporary and they have different styles, the CCCB reunites all of them to build a very particular history of the animation through the 20th century.

Metamorphosis presents the works of four key figures in the field of animated films: the pioneering Polish animator (born in Russia) who made his home in Paris, Ladislas Starewitch (1882-1965), the Czech master, Jan Švankmajer (1934), and the Quay Brothers (1947), who were born in Pennsylvania but have lived in London for the past three decades. Three unique filmographies that, nonetheless, have a great deal in common: an eccentric universe of slumber where innocence, cruelty, voluptuousness, magic and madness coexist. A troubling, poetic, lucid and, at times grotesque, at times phantasmagorical, landscape of people who love the unproductive and futile.

Animated cinema is the demiurgic art par excellence: matter comes to life and is transformed in the hands and imaginations of the creators. They, more than anybody, know about the secret life of objects.Theirs is a cinema of resistance against narrative conventions which is impervious to the rationalising hygiene modernity has imposed. In the face of the world of the adult and the correct, Starewitch’s imagination, Švankmajer’s provocation and the Quay Brothers’ permanently convalescing characters put themselves forward as an unexpected invitation to freedom.

The exhibition also showcases a large number of artistic and cinematographic references which trace the spheres of interest these filmmakers are drawn to: fairytales, horror stories, the world of dreams, cabinets of curiosities, pre-Enlightenment science, alchemy and illusionism.

This is the first time that the work of these four artists has been presented in any detail and depth in our country. Yet what makes the exhibition a truly international event is the fact that the work of these creators, who are engaged in explicit dialogue, is being brought together in one single project: the Quay Brothers acknowledge that they are admirers of Jan Švankmajer, and all three relish the company of Starewitch.

On the occasion of the exhibition, a publication will come out including texts by Jordi Costa, Brian Dillon, Andrés Hispano, Carolina López, François Martin and Pascal Vimenet.

Exhibition featuring works by: Leonardo Alenza, Arnold Böcklin, Walerian Borowczyk, Charles Bowers, Luis Buñuel, Émile Cohl, Gustave Courbet, Segundo de Chomón, Salvador Dalí, Monsu Desiderio, James Ensor, Max Ernst, Francisco de Goya, Jean Grandville, Emma Hauck, Max Klinger, Alfred Kubin, Eugenio Lucas, Marey, Josep Masana, Méliès, Joaquim Pla Janini, Lotte Reiniger, Bruno Schulz, Irène Starewitch, Eva Švankmajerová, Robert Walser

 

Francisco de Goya. Disparate volante, 1815-24

Francisco de Goya. Disparate volante, 1815-24

Jean Grandville. Les Métamorphoses du sommeil, 1843

Jean Grandville. Les Métamorphoses du sommeil, 1843

Seguidor de Hieronymus Bosch, El Bosco. Visión de Tondal, a partir de 1501-1550

Seguidor de Hieronymus Bosch, El Bosco. Visión de Tondal, a partir de 1501-1550

Alfred Kubin. The Pond – Der Tuempel, c. 1905

Alfred Kubin. The Pond – Der Tuempel, c. 1905

Charles Le Brun. Dissertation sur un Traité de Charles Le Brun concernant le rapport de la Physionomie Humaine avec celle des animaux

Charles Le Brun. Dissertation sur un Traité de Charles Le Brun concernant le rapport de la Physionomie Humaine avec celle des animaux

Monsù Desiderio (François de Nomé). Les Enfers, 1622

Monsù Desiderio (François de Nomé). Les Enfers, 1622

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Contents

Metamorphosis

Publications

Metamorphosis

Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers

Videos

Credits

Produced by

Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona
La Casa Encendida (Madrid)

Collaborators

Athanor – Film Production Company, Llc.
Moritz
Centro Checo