Apr 9, 2011

Lenica and the Grotesquery of Ubu Roi

There are some high quality images from Jan Lenica's animation film, "Ubu et le Grande Gidouille," posted on one of my favorite image-sites, 50watts.com. The explosive, grotesque and surreal theatre work by Alfred Jarry is an inescapable one, revisited and re-made numerous times by the creative minds it attracts. Lenica's own aesthetic makes it his own, especially with his strong and bold, yet highly organic graphics. The animation utilizes cut-outs, drawing and painting in a collagist's manner. Pieces and parts of bodies float serenely, suddenly twitch, fly off screen, lay leaden in sullen austerity, and generate a tense, surreal and phantom-like landscape.

Jan Lenica is an essential part of the animation filmmaking landscape. His role as a Polish poster designer brought him success, but his eventual move into animation cemented his legacy. Initial animation explorations with his compatriot, Walerian Borowczyk, or "Boro," garnered the art world's response, culminating in the film "Dom" ("House")

Lenica and Boro were referring to their own style as barbaric, in that their efforts to bring life to their images using animation were not concerned with graceful qualities. Instead, their style was halting, twitchy, crude (sometimes) and gestural. Their subject matter was most frequently about the political, and the crushing control of the individual's spirit, which was necessarily disguised in metaphor and symbol as a way to get past the Soviet Communist censors.

Lenica's death in 2001 left behind a proliferation of compelling work in both design and animation.

(Here's a not-so-great quality upload of his film here (or directly on youtube), but copy nonetheless.)

| post by Lorelei |

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