Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Animation Timeline - Jan Svankmajer (1934 - Present)

 Figure 1, (2009), Passionate Dialogue

Jan Svankmajer is a surrealist and best known for his surreal stop motion animations, where he uses several media. His work captures the dark style of Ladislaw Starewicz and also influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliham and The Brother's Quay. "Svankmajer's works are bad dream strange, an unpredictable array of crazy visuals that ripple with textures that Burton and Gilliam would eventually borrow and build upon in their unique way." (Rosell, 2006) Svankmajer embraces the bizarre and peculiar as he derives the story from the materials he uses and the term 'crazy visuals' in the evidence relates to the the characters and what they are doing, which is confusing at first but becomes clearer as the story cycles round or repeats within the sequence. The materials he uses allows him to morph and mold characters to transform or become one being to eventually become nothing. The Dimension of Dialogue series shows this when the characters are attacking each other through digestion or ripping the clay apart. "Svankmajer prefers to portray evolution as a futile process leading at best to endless circularity and at worst to terminal self-destruction -... which apparent progress proves to be illusory." (Bitel, 2011) This means that Svankmajer would show something basic at the start of the sequence and then this is explained through the progression of the story through a cycle or all characters are dead resembling the ultimate resolution.

 Figure 2, (2011), Passionate Dialogue 2

The Dimensions of Dialogue series also show the closeness between humans, especially Passion Dialogue where the characters make love and morphs into each other as if becoming one in the connection. "It is, in essence, a three part play dealing with various elements of human interaction. If nothing else, and if political readings are of no interest to you, it is an absolute masterclass in the field of animation, a visual experience no one should miss out on." (Eason, 2010) It indicates how Svankmajer uses these sequences to convey how the emotions between the characters would change towards each other to become more intense and aggressive. The Clay animations allowed him to show stronger emotion because the material can be manipulated so that there is a link between the characters in one section and then totally enraged and tearing each other apart in another.

 Figure 3, (2011), Dimensions of Dialogue part 2

 Figure 4, (2011), Exhaustive Dialogue


Figure 1, (2009), Passionate Dialogue, @, Accessed on: 12th June 2009

Figure 2, (2011), Passionate Dialogue 2, @, Accessed on: 25th February 2011

Figure 3, (2011), Dimensions of Dialogue part 2, @, Accessed on: 2011

Figure 4, (2011), Exhaustive Dialogue, @, Accessed on: 27th January 2011


Bitel Anton, (2011), Jan Svankmajer - The Complete short Films, @, Accessed on: 2006

Eason Jack, (2010), Dimensions of Dialogue, @, Accessed on: 19th November 2010

Rosell Rich, (2006), Jan Svankmajer: The Ossuary and Other Tales, @, Accessed on: 12th September 2006

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