Exhibition of sets by cult film makers opens at VG&M

Quay Brothers

An exhibition of film sets by cult film makers, the Quay Brothers, has gone on display at the Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M).

The exhibition features 10 miniature-sized film sets including puppets, props and characters which have been used in the Quay’s unique and innovative films.

Stephen and Timothy Quay, identical twins, are highly influential stop motion animators renowned for their craftsmanlike methods, their attention to detail and their unusual sources of inspiration. 

The Quay Brothers’ films are described as surreal, moody and macabre representing a world frozen in time, full of cobwebs and dust, mirrors and strange machines. The brothers are heavily influenced by Eastern European visual and literary culture and in particular, Polish animators, Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowyczyk, as well as writers like Franz Kafka and Belgian playwright Michel de Ghelderode. 

The set of one of their best-known films, Street of Crocodiles, is on display and the film will be shown in the gallery. The film is adapted from a short story by Polish novelist, Bruno Schulz, and was selected by Terry Gilliam as one of the top 10 best animated films of all time. 

This Unnameable Little Broom will be also shown in the gallery and a programme of films by the Quay Brothers and Eastern European animators who influenced their work will be screened in the Leggate Theatre.

Stephen and Timothy Quay were born near Philadelphia in 1947. After graduating at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1969 they went on to study illustrations and graphics at the Royal College of Art in London where they started to make animated short films.

Matthew Clough, Director of the VG&M, said: “This is a rare opportunity to see the Quay Brothers’ handcrafted film sets which give you a far greater understanding and appreciation of their artistry and allows you to witness the obsessive and beautiful detail in the sets. It is this attention to detail and minutia that gives the Quays’ work so much of its character.”

Dormitorium: An exhibition of sets and films by the Quay Brothers runs until 28 May 2011. Admission to all galleries and exhibitions is free. The VGM is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm.

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