Saturday, 12 October 2013

Wonderful Jan Svankmajer exhibition

Tower of armadillos.

Last night I attended the opening of the Jan Svankmajer exhibition at the University of Brighton Gallery. 

When I was an undergraduate, Svankmajer's surreal, stop-motion animated films were a big influence on my fellow students, along with the macabre folk art/surrealism of Struwwelpeter, but I had never seen Svankmajer's assemblages (mostly models for the films) or his beautiful etchings before. This exhibition really blew me away, there was far too much to take in one one visit so I will certainly be going back.

Wooden boy.

I have become increasingly interested in  the idea of Surrealism beyond Dal√≠ in recent years – in particular thorough reading biographies of Lee Miller and Jean Cocteau and visiting Edward James' collection of Surrealist art at Pallant House, Chichester – as well as Svankmajer's own inspiration, the Cabinet of Curiosities of Rudolf II, so this was well-timed for me and full of inspiration. 

Feathered suit.
My phone photographs really don't do the exhibits justice, seen in the evening light, after coming in from the deluge, they were magical, inventive and a more than a little bit disturbing.

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