Skip to main content

Leading Lights of the 20th Century


Leading lights Orson Welles

Seen by Frederic Amat and Jordi Balló

Orson Welles was an inventor of forms, probably one of the greatest of the 20th century. Like Cervantes' Quixote, the work of Welles is inimitable, indeclinable; what interests us today is Welles, not Wellesianism, a word that simply does not exist. He is both the beginning and the end of most of the challenges he took on. His version for radio of The War of the Worlds revealed the opacity of the information system before the word manipulation even existed in the minds of communication strategists. From Citizen Kane to The Immortal Story, he constructed a persistent narrative about loss of innocence, untempered thirst for power, its fragility once attained and the impossibility of the absolute. This storyline culminates in a tour de force that addresses the ambiguity of the real, the prominence of falseness and the ironic limits of representation.

Theatre, radio, cinema, television, forceful works, unfinished works: the work of Welles is constant bubbling under the surface, even when it seems to be at rest. The fact that it is incomplete merely makes it more disturbing, more present. The fictional question posed by Ed Wood still echoes: "Mr Welles... Is it all worth it?" The answer is cinema itself, the nuclear space at the heart of the confrontation that is creation.

Curators: Frederic Amat, Jordi Balló

This activity is part of Leading Lights of the 20th Century

Organised by