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London: Borowczyk

May 20, 2014 - July 6, 2014


Walerian Borowczyk: The Listening Eye at ICA in London

12th KINOTEKA – Polish Film Festival invites you to rediscover the amazing work of painter, sculptor and filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk (1923 – 2006).

The ICA will  be hosting the first UK exhibition of Borowczyk’s artwork, featuring his inimitable graphics, preliminary work for his groundbreaking animations as well as his unusual sound sculptures.

Primarily known for his erotic feature films (Immoral Tales, The Beast), Borowczyk trained in painting and sculpture, a background that greatly influenced his approach to filmmaking. Having established himself as a poster designer in Poland during the 1950s, Borowczyk emigrated to France in 1959, where he worked first as an animator and later as a live-action filmmaker. Throughout his career, Borowczyk became associated with key figures in both the Polish and French avant garde, including the poster artist Jan Lenica, cine-essayist Chris Marker, and electro-acoustic composer Bernard Parmegiani, not to mention surrealists such as André Breton, André Pieyre de Mandiargues and Max Ernst.

Featuring works on paper, wooden sound sculptures and rarely seen archival material (much of which was created as preliminary studies for his groundbreaking animations), this display is the first in the UK to be devoted to this unique and often overlooked artist and filmmaker.

Taking centre stage is Borowczyk’s 1964 animation, Les Jeux des Anges to be screened in the cinema. The film features barren lunar landscapes, windowless spaces and mutilated angels, capturing many of the aesthetic tropes and themes found in his oeuvre as a whole.

The film also marks the beginning of Borowczyk’s collaboration with Bernard Parmegiani, a protégé of musique conrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. Here, Parmegiani’s shrill, chilling sounds mesh effortlessly with Borowczyk’s desolate, nihilistic imagery to create a perfect union of senses.


curated by Daniel Bird


ICA London, Fox Reading Room
Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH
London, SW1Y 5AH United Kingdom
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