“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.” This description, comes from the exhibition “Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers,” now playing at the Centre de Cultura Contemporanea (CCCB) in Barcelona, Spain, and it’s a good summary of the work of these four visionary animators.
Ladislas Starewitch (1882-1965), Jan Svankmajer (b. 1934), and the Quay Brothers (b. 1947) are arguably the foremost names in puppet animation. The exhibition does not limit itself to the quartet of animators, but also highlights a dizzying variety of artists, filmmakers, and writers who were direct and indirect influences on them, including Arnold Böcklin, Walerian Borowczyk, Charles Bowers, Luis Buñuel, Émile Cohl, Gustave Courbet, Segundo de Chomón, Salvador Dalí, Monsu Desiderio, James Ensor, Max Ernst, Francisco de Goya, Jean Grandville, Emma Hauck, Max Klinger, Georges Méliès, Lotte Reiniger, Bruno Schulz, and Robert Walser among others. Svankmajer and the Quays have appeared at events related to the show, and the Quays produced a special installation for it.