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.