Belgium - Antwerp - Extra City - Sergei Eisenstein - The Mexican drawings20/03/2009
ANTWERP - EXTRA CITY - SERGEI EISENSTEIN - THE MEXICAN DRAWINGS
03.04.2009 > 21.06.2009
Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) was a seminal modern artist and legendary pioneer of cinema. The director of masterpieces such as Battleship Potemkin (1927) and Ivan the Terrible (1941), he was also a major art theorist, whose ideas on 'intellectual montage', for instance, created a milestone in the theory of cinema and in revolutionary art. Eisenstein also made intensive use throughout his life of the medium of drawing, often in close connection with, or literally as part of, his theoretical reflections.
The exhibition in Extra City brings together an extensive selection of drawings of the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art in Moscow (RGALI) made by Eisenstein during his visit to Mexico in 1931/32, including works never before presented in public. In Mexico, Eisenstein developed his drawings in a parallel manner to the Surrealists' Ecriture Automatique, producing a large number of variations on recurring motifs, merging archaic and modern myths, exploring obscenity, violence, and forms of ecstasy through a single, amorphous line.
The exhibition will further include short excerpts from the unfinished ¡Que viva México!, the film Eisenstein came to shoot in Mexico, and which he would tragically be excluded from editing. The film's hybrid images depict Mexican life as a simultaneity of past and present. Reminiscent of, and yet surpassing the modern 'primitivist' fascination with the 'archaic', Mexico presented for Eisenstein a tableau of dialectic imagery that allowed him to re-conceptualize the role of modern art and revolutionary cinema in traversing the modern dichotomies of subject and object, rational and irrational, inside and outside, individual and collective, and even death and life.