Jean Painlevé

Ikon Gallery
Jean Painlevé
opening: 15 March 2017 | 6-8pm
curated by Marie Jager and Jonathan Watkins
Exhibition: 15 March – 4 June 2017
1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS
Left:Jean Painleve Rostre sur le nez de la crevette, 1929 © Archives Jean Painlevé, Paris. Image courtesy of Archives Jean Painleve, Paris.Right:Promotional photograph for Jean Painleves seahorse jewellery, 1936. Photo Philippe Halsman © Archives Jean Painlevé, Paris.Halsman Archive.
This is the first UK solo exhibition of work by French filmmaker and photographer Jean Painlevé (1902 – 1989).  His moving imagery of marine life, in particular, commanded the respect of many renowned avant-garde artists working in 1920s Paris (Luis Buñuel, Sergei Eisenstein, Man Ray and Alexander Calder), at the beginning of a life-long career that almost spanned the 20th century.  This exhibition, presents a number of seminal films alongside a selection of photographs and jewellery, exemplifying Painlevé’s passion for making science accessible.
Jean Painlevé studied Biology at the Sorbonne University and started to socialise and associate with the Surrealists in his early twenties. In 1924, he published an article, ‘Neo Zoological Drama’, in the journalSurrealisme in which his characteristic use of specialised science directed at a lay audience and tongue-in-cheek sense of humour can already be found:
Good for Chironomus plumosus to outline their intestinal arborizations in red lace; what spherical astonishment: he flees and ruptures the phlegmy threads reserved for the Bythotrephes longimanus, that good old little crustacean with close-cropped hair.
A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an introduction by Ikon Director Jonathan Watkins and an essay by Marie Jager.  Available from Ikon’s Shop.

This exhibition is curated by Marie Jager and Jonathan Watkins.  It is organised in collaboration with the Archives Jean Painlevé, and produced in association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery and Flatpack Film Festival.

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