Steaks, pebbles, iron locks: master animator Jan Švankmajer (Prague, 1934) can bring anything to life. His films are filled with obsession, lust, horror and eroticism, all underpinned by an undercurrent of abuse of power. Eye Filmmuseum presents the exhibition Jan Švankmajer - The Alchemical Wedding devoted to the work of Czech surrealist and master animator.
This is the first major retrospective of his bizarre and dark films and sculptures in the Netherlands. Also on show in the exhibition are a large selection of his tactile objects, collages, prints and sick maps. At Eye Švankmajer’s films will be screened and various talks and events will be hosted.
In the 1970s, the Czech sensor banned Švankmajer from making any more sinister films of this kind. Despite that, Švankmajer continued to work as a visual artist. “The only fitting answer to the cruelties of life is to ridicule them by using your imagination.” His films have echoes of the worlds imagined by Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) and Edgar Allan Poe, inspiring countless filmmakers, from The Quay Brothers to Terry Gilliam.
about the exhibition
The exhibition at Eye features one big installation in which numerous short films by Švankmajer are screened amidst remarkable sculptures and ‘spirited’ images, together with three Wunderkammers filled with collages, tactile objects, sick maps and ‘medium’ drawings. Švankmajer’s feature films will be screened in the cinemas at Eye.
about the artist
Jan Švankmajer (Prague, 1934) studied from 1950 to 1954 at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, and then puppetry at the Academy of Performing Arts. His fondness for film started while working in a puppet theatre. He used stop-motion for his first short film, entitled The Last Trick (1964), in which two jugglers take part in a heated contest. Švankmajer subsequently continued to experiment with puppetry, animation and avant-garde film techniques, in the process breathing new life into the genre.
The exhibition is curated by Jaap Guldemond in collaboration with Marente Bloemheuvel.
- Director of Exhibitions / Curator: Jaap Guldemond
- Associate curator: Marente Bloemheuvel
- Project managers: Sanne Baar, Claartje Opdam
- Exhibition design: Claus Wiersma
- Graphic design: Joseph Plateau
- Technical production: Rembrandt Boswijk, Indyvideo, Utrecht, Bo Jansen
- Installation: Syb Sybesma, Amsterdam
- Lighting: Maarten Warmerdam, Theatermachine, Amsterdam
From A to Z
filmJan Švankmajer, 1987
filmJan Švankmajer, 1996
specialJan Švankmajer, 1996
specialcompilation programme, 2018
filmJan Švankmajer, 2018
specialJan Švankmajer, 1987
filmJan Švankmajer, 1994
filmJan Švankmajer, 2000
filmJan Švankmajer, 2018