660. Anamorphis or De Artificiali Perspectiva – Timothy Quay, Stephen Quay

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SUMMARY: An animated documentary on Anamorphosis, a method of placing hidden images in artwork but using distorted perspectives.

WHY IT’S HERE: Commissioned by the Program for Art on Film, The Brothers Quay created an atypical work with this fascinating animated documentary on Anamorphosis. Anamorphosis is a technique used by artists to hide images within their artwork which can only be seen through looking at the image from a certain angle. Such visual trickery sits comfortably beside the Brothers Quay’s trademark puppet animation. While the animation is as fine as one would expect from the directors, ‘De Artificiali Perspectiva’ is dominated by its riveting subject more than the animation. Narrated by Witold Scheybal, the actor who portrayed the Russian Premiere in the famously dreadful ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’, ‘De Artificiali Perspectiva’ guides us through a series of examples of Anamorphosis, ending with perhaps the most famous example of the technique, Hans Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors’. In commissioning the Brothers Quay to make this documentary, the Program for Art on Film demonstrated a canny insight into how the medium of animation is the natural successor to Anamorphosis as a beautiful and mysterious visual illusion.

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