Quay Brothers Return to University of the Arts for First North American Exhibition, Film Festival Award

Quay Brothers Return to University of the Arts for First North American Exhibition, Film Festival Award

University of the Arts Philadelphia

March 17, 2009
Quay Brothers Return to University of the Arts for First North American Exhibition, Film Festival Award


Quay Brothers Return to University of the Arts for First North American Exhibition, Film Festival Award
Influential Animators Have Developed Global Cult Following for Acclaimed Short Films and Features

Quirky, dark and moody has worked well for identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay, the award-winning, London-based “Brothers Quay,” influential stop-action animators and alumni of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

For the first time in North America, original sets (décors) from their films are on display in the exhibition “DORMITORIUM: Film ‘Décors’ by the Quay Bros” at their alma mater’s Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery through April 9. Part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebration of its College of Art and Design, the festivities will include a reception with the brothers, and a presentation of the Vision Award for extraordinary achievement in filmmaking in conjunction with Philadelphia CineFest on April 3.

The décors in the exhibition range from the brothers’ critically acclaimed “Street of Crocodiles” (1986) to “The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes” (2006). The exhibition also includes décors from “The Unnameable Little Broom” (1985); “Stille Nacht I (Dramolet)” (1988); “The Comb (From the Museums of Sleep)” (1990); “Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies” (1988); “The Cabinet of Jan Svanmajer” (1984); “Rehearsals For Extinct Anatomies” (1988); and “The Calligrapher” (1991). After its run at the University’s Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, the show travels to Parsons The New School for Design in New York City in the fall and Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., in the fall.

“Street of Crocodiles,” based on the short novel of the same name by the Polish author and artist Bruno Schulz, was selected by director and animator Terry Gilliam as one of the 10 best animated films of all time, and critic Jonathan Romney included it on his list of the 10 best films in any medium. “The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes” – a dark fairy tale about a demonic doctor who abducts a beautiful opera singer, with designs on transforming her into a mechanical nightingale – is the brothers’ second full-length feature film.

The Quays also directed an animated sequence in the 2002 Oscar-winning film “Frida,” starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina, designed sets for opera and theater productions, and produced music videos and television commercials. Their first feature film, “Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life” was released in 1995. Their third feature, based on Schulz’s “Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass,” is in pre-production.

They have built a cult following making dark and moody films, mostly on or influenced by Eastern European film, literature and music. Many feature partially disassembled dolls and generally have no meaningful spoken dialogue. Their work has been impacted by an array of disparate influences – from Polish animators Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Lenica to writers Franz Kafka and Robert Walser; from puppeteers Wladyslaw Starewicz and Richard Teschner to composers Leoš Janácek, Zdenek Liška and Leszek Jankowski.

Born and raised in Norristown, Pa., the brothers graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1969, Stephen with a degree in film, Timothy with a degree in illustration, and promptly moved to England to study at the Royal College of Art, where they made their first film. During the ’70s, they spent time in the Netherlands and returned to England to team up with fellow Royal College alumnus Keith Griffiths, who has produced all of their films, to form Koninck Studios in 1980.

The University of the Arts is the nation’s first and only university dedicated to the visual, performing and communication arts. Its 2,300 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. The institution’s roots as a leader in educating creative individuals date back to 1868.


Kevin Kaufman
Assistant Director
University Communications
The University of the Arts
215/717-6504 (o), 215/651-6551 (c)

For more information go to: http://www.uarts.edu

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March 17, 2009

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