Quay Brothers, Philadelphia, 1947
Born in the United States and resident in the United Kingdom for more than three decades, these identical twins produce internationally renowned, state-of-the-art animation.
We owe some of the best marionette films ever to these alchemists of the image.
With animated films like Street of Crocodiles (1986), The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (1984), In Absentia (2000), plus fictional works such as Institute Benjamenta (1995), they reveal how powerfully the rich Eastern European cultural scene and, most of all, the work of Polish and Czech artists, has influenced them. These sources include graphic designers from the fifties and sixties, film-makers and writers like Waleryan Borowczyk, Bruno Schulz, Franz Kafka, Jan Švankmajer and Jan Lenica, and the Russians Ladislas Starewitch and Yurí Norstein.
The synthesis of these and other references, for example the Swiss writer Robert Walser, flows through their work in exquisitely sublimated guises in which they are presented to new audiences thanks to the excellence of their techniques, the musical sense of their images and their painstaking staging. Admirers of Švankmajer, they were mainly responsible for his being brought into the limelight of the postmodern scene of the eighties.
Their most recent piece is inspired by the univers of the Uruguayan writer Felisberto Hernández.
The MoMA in New York has recently held a major exhibition of their work.