Česká centra, Czech Centres

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28 Aug 2014 - 13 Sep 2014


English version of the retrospective exhibition of Czech artist and film director Jan Švankmajer which will travel around the Czech Centres abroad.

Jan Švankmajer is one of the most original and celebrated filmmakers in the world. For several decades, a number of his films have influenced other prominent film directors such as Terry Gilliam, John Lasseter, David Lynch and the Brothers Quay, and have received wide international recognition.

His filmography, which contains 28 short films and 6 feature films, is, nevertheless, just one aspect of his work. Since the end of the 1950s, Švankmajer has developed a very prolific, but coherent body of work using different modes of expression and techniques such as puppet theatre, creation of objects and assemblage, tactilism, gestural sculpture and marionette puppetry, ceramics, automatic or mediumistic drawing, collage, animated frottage, and text and poetry. These works were created alone or in collaboration with his wife Eva, or within the collective activities of the Czech and Slovak Surrealist Group, of which he has been an active member since 1970. The different methods or techniques he uses are not so important to him; they complete each other, creating a whole creative and active “dialogue” which expresses the same obsessions, hopes and fears arising from his childhood.

To explain the coherence, the complexity and the universality of his work he once said: “Remember there is only one form of ‘poetry’. The opposite is professional expertise. Before you start to make a film, write a poem, paint a picture, create a collage, write a novel, an essay, etc, it is only by cultivating your ability for universal expression that you will be sure to produce a good film.” 

organizer / Czech Centres
concept / František Dryje and Bertrand Schmitt
texts / František Dryje and Bertrand Schmitt 
design / Studio Marvil
Special thanks to Jan Švankmajer


The exhibition was made possible with the help of Athanor Film — Jaromír Kallista, Arbor vitae





From: 28 Aug 2014
To: 13 Sep 2014


Czech Centre

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