Invitation to a press conference on ‘Move little hands… “Move!” – Czech surrealists Jan and Eva Švankmajer - An exhibition by Jiří Fajt and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden’

08 November 2019

Move little Hands... "Move!"

Czech surrealists Jan & Eva Švankmajer

Life-size marionettes, graphic art and collages, fantastical hybrid creatures, ceramics, surrealist paintings, taxidermy, obscure fetishes and relics, cinemas and stages – the universe of Czech surrealists Jan and Eva Švankmajer seems never-ending. On 18 November 2019, the special exhibition ‘Move little hands... “Move!”’, jointly conceived by Jiří Fajt and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, will open its doors at Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, offering visitors both a cinematic experience and a glimpse into the artists’ curiosity cabinet

  • DATES 19/11/2019—08/03/2020

Move little Hands... Move!

The presentation gives an overview of the artistic couple’s lives and extensive oeuvres, presenting contemporary Czech surrealism through a wide variety of media. Besides 17 films from all phases of Jan Švankmajer’s work, the exhibition will also showcase numerous figurines and collages by the two artists – some of which were film props. The show also includes tactile objects that visitors can only truly experience through touch. The artefacts will be presented in display cases designed specifically for them by Jan Švankmajer. As a result, the exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to see a comprehensive collection of important films alongside related objects, to experience the cabinet of curiosities installed by the artist himself in the middle of the space, and finally to perceive the exhibition as a whole, a total artwork created by the artist.

Jan Švankmajer (*1934) is internationally acclaimed as the doyen of animated film: With his trademark stop-motion technique, he blazed a trail for such cinematic greats as Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam. He himself drew inspiration from dark romanticist writers like Edgar Allen Poe and from Lewis Carroll, Sigmund Freud and Marquis de Sade. Accordingly, his films depict grotesque scenarios, full of biting humour, while also dealing with fundamental questions of humanity. As a member of the Czech surrealist group, the Soviet occupying forces banned him from making films in the 1970s. However, that did not stop him working: he simply premièred his films in other countries instead.

On the other hand, few are familiar with Jan and Eva Švankmajer’s work in the fine arts. His wife, Eva Švankmajerova, (1940–2005) designed many of his productions. Figurines, props and set designs accompany the films in the exhibition – for example Faust (1994) or The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope (1983).

Marion Ackermann, Director General of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, invited art historian Jiří Fajt to plan this special exhibition in the Lipsiusbau with SKD – continuing the German-Czech dialogue that museums in Prague and Dresden have been conducting for several years now. This exhibition draws many inspiring parallels, especially for SKD, which was originally founded as an art chamber in the 16th century, and now features the baroque treasury collection of the Grünes Gewölbe, a puppetry collection at the Puppentheatersammlung as well as porcelain and ethnographic collections.

 

SKD uses the hashtags #janundevasvankmajer, #movelittlehandsmove and #skdmuseum to communicate on social media.

Presspictures- and -dossiers

Jan Švankmajer, Der Tod des Stalinismus in Böhmen, 1991 Filmstill
© ATHANOR – Film production company, Ltd.
Jan Švankmajer, Food, 1992 Filmstill
© ATHANOR – Film production company, Ltd.
Jan Švankmajer, Punch and Judy, 1966 Filmstill
© ATHANOR – Film production company, Ltd.
Jan Švankmajer, Historia Naturae, 1967 Filmstill
© Athanor - Film production company, Ltd.
Eva Švankmajer, Portrait of Jan, 1969 © ATHANOR – Film production company, Ltd.
Eva Švankmajerová, Surrealist Personality who lost Face, 1995 © ATHANOR – Film production company, Ltd.
Ausstellungsansicht "Move little hands... „Move!“ © SKD, Foto: David Pinzer
Ausstellungsansicht "Move little hands... „Move!“ © SKD, Foto: David Pinzer
Werke in der Ausstellung
Ausstellungsansicht "Move little hands... „Move!“ © SKD, Foto: David Pinzer
Ausstellungsansicht "Move little hands... „Move!“ © SKD, David Pinzer
Ausstellungsansicht "Move little hands... „Move!“ © SKD, Foto: David Pinzer
Ausstellungsansicht "Move little hands... „Move!“ © SKD, Foto: David Pinzer
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