Polish artist Jan Lenica’s work helped transform the genre of animated film into one capable of communicating the most complex messages. In December, the Harvard Film Archive will present a retrospective of his films – Freedom Outside Reason: The Animated Cinema of Jan Lenica.
Jan Lenica’s work helped transform the genre of animated film into one capable of communicating the most complex, difficult and serious messages. Although he resisted being labelled, the output of his varied career included award-winning animated films, graphic art, collages, drawings and posters. He stood out as one of the finest artists of the Polish Poster School, made numerous satirical drawings, book illustrations and even designed theatre costumes. His posters, prints and drawings were shown at exhibitions in Poland and abroad. Describing himself, he said:
I move on the fringes of fine art, film and literature; no dictionary has a name for this kind of occupation.
Lenica’s graphic style favoured thick outlines, cutout figures and collage, all set to simply choreographed movements. Surrealist in conception and tragicomic in tone, his films often represent states of mind and the urban experience.
The retrospective at the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge, Massachusets will take place from the 2nd to the 4th December 2017. The screenings will begin with introductions by Gregorz Skorupski, film expert from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw. The programme will include 15 of Lenica’s animated films:
- Love Requited
- The House
- New Janko the Musician
- Once Upon a Time
- The Island of R.O.
- Fantorro, the Last Arbiter
- Ubu et Grande Gidouille
- The Flower Woman
- Adam 2
- Monsieur Tête
As well as two documentaries about the artist:
- Moving Pictures: The Art of Jan Lenica, directed by Richard P. Rogers
- The Island of Jan Lenica, directed by Marcin Giżycki
Marcin Giżycki is the curator of the film programme at the Harvard Film Archive. Giżycki is an art and film historian, critic and filmmaker, who is particularly passionate about animated films. He is a professor at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology in Warsaw, Poland; the Artistic Director of the International Animated Film Festival in Poznan; and a Senior Lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Former Editor in Chief of Animafilm magazine (1979-81), he is also the author of several books, over 350 articles, and has made a number of documentary, experimental and animated films.
The screenings have been organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute.
Find out more: Harvard Film Archive
Sources: press materials, compiled by NR, 29 Nov 2017