CINECITY Present Jan Švankmajer Exhibition

5 September 2013


University of Brighton Gallery 11 October – 2 December 2013

This Autumn CINECITY will present a major celebration of the work of the legendary Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer. 

Prolific across the arts, Jan Švankmajer is best known for the dark, surreal visions and macabre comedy of his films. Combining live action, puppetry and a rich range of animation techniques, he is widely recognised as one of the most original and influential film-makers in world cinema.

He was born in 1934 in Prague, the capital of magic and alchemy, where he still lives and works. A surrealist, with a background in marionette and puppet theatre, he has drawn on an enduring fascination with Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, Freud, De Sade and Arcimboldo, court painter to the legendary 16th Century Bohemian emperor Rudolf II.  Jan Švankmajer made his first film, The Last Trick in 1964 and has been a major influence on the likes of Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and the Quay Brothers.

‘The world is divided into two unequal camps: those who have never heard of Jan Švankmajer … and those who happen upon his work and know that they have come face to face with genius.’ Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

JAN ŠVANKMAJER: THE INNER LIFE OF OBJECTS heralds the 50th anniversary of his first film and features sets and decors, puppets, costumes, drawings and storyboards from many of his  acclaimed films including Alice, Punch and Judy, Lunacy, A Quiet Week in the House, Little Otik and Surviving Life.

Alongside these artefacts from 50 years of film-making, THE INNER LIFE OF OBJECTS presents prints and sculptures – including imaginary beasts assembled from bones, shells and stones – in his Historia Naturae series, made by Jan Švankmajer between 1972 and 2012.

‘I don’t actually animate objects, I coerce their inner life out if them’ Jan Švankmajer.

JAN ŠVANKMAJER: THE INNER LIFE OF OBJECTS will be complemented by a complete, cinema retrospective and a programme of talks, workshops and special events during CINECITY Brighton Film Festival in November.

The exhibition has been enabled by the support of Arts Council England, Athanor, Czech Centre, and University of Brighton.

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