Garage Center for Contemporary Culture presents an exhibition by legendary Czech artist, filmmaker and set designer Jan Švankmajer, widely recognized as one of the most accomplished animators working today.
Švankmajer has received international acclaim for his films, which merge live action, stop-motion animation and puppetry to create scenes that simultaneously shock and captivate the viewer. His work explores the legacy of Surrealism, and the way in which images derived from the subconscious can reveal both the inner workings of the human mind and its social surroundings, thereby confronting the dark and often frightening sides of our existence.
Švankmajer’s artistic practice is incredibly wide-ranging. Aside from his feature films and animation, he produces sculpture, graphic design, collage and “tactile experiments”. The artist uses both man-made and organic materials, such as animal skeletons, stones, fossils and dried plants.
Curated by Yulia Aksenova, the exhibition at Garage reveals the rich diversity of Švankmajer’s practice. The work gains cohesion within the concept of the Kunstkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, an eclectic collection of peculiar man-made and organic objects. The first Kunstkammern, created during the Age of Enlightenment during the 17th and 18th centuries, epitomized the influx of new knowledge from non-Western civilizations and were perceived as a sort of arena, a theater of the world, where art and nature collide.
Švankmajer’s sculptures and short films will be presented as part of a large-scale architectural installation – designed by Kiril Ass and Nadezhda Korbut - created especially for the exhibition at Garage. The artist’s installation and arrangement of the space aims to immerse the viewer in the phantasmagoria of Švankmajer’s art and his world, thereby offering the viewer a completely unique insight into his practice.