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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.

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Report "Metamorfosis"

Metamorphosis is an exhibition that establishes a dialogue between the four masters of animated films: Ladislas Starewitch (1882-1965), Jan Švankmajer(1934) and the Quay Brothers (1947).  

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Svankmajer Decalogue

Soy Cámara online

Jan Švankmajer's Decalogue, a text on his artistic principles written in 1999, perfectly sums up the vigor and artistic commitment of the animators of the exhibition "Metamorphosis". The program enunciates this decalogue and illustrates it with a selection of his works, recognized as ...

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Exhibition images

Previous activities

Metamorphosis: a map beyond the CCCB

Metamorphosis seen by...

Guided visits to the exhibition

Concert-Screening "The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka"

A film by The Quay Brothers with pianist Mikhaïl Rudy

A Story of Marginality

Where is the periphery? Creation, Obsession, Subversion with Dora García, Enrique Vila-Matas and Jordi Costa

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Habitació 1418

On the Road. International Museum Day

Through the looking glass

Sublime desire

Games and enigmas

Incoherent bodies and mechanical souls

The rebellion of objects

Fantastic tales III

Fantastic tales II

Fantastic tales I

The cabinet of curiosities

The tale of the fox

Matinee session for all audiences (+6)

Opening of the series “Xcèntric screens Metamorphosis”

A secret order of things (with the attendance of the Brothers Quay)

Possibilities for dialogue

An encounter with Jan Švankmajer, the Quay brothers and Léona-Béatrice Martin-Starewitch, granddaughter of Ladislas Starewitch

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