Body and corporeality in the animation art of Jan Švankmajer
The text is devoted to the film works of Jan Švankmajer, one of the most famous Czech surrealists still alive. In his films the artist uses a technique that combines collage, drawing, dolls, objects and natural plastics with traditional feature movie in order to challenge the dichotomous order of the animate and inanimate world. Objects, which are brought to life, become empowered in the works of the Czech artist. Revealing the “corporeality” of inanimate matter becomes the leading idea of Švankmajer’s “tactile art,” according to which objects, thanks to the encoded memory of the human touch, are capable of reflecting various mental situations. A particular anthropomorphization of inanimate matter finds its counterbalance in reification activities that man is subjected to in the films of the Czech artist. The surreal world of Švankmajer’s imagination, drawing on the abundant tradition of European, but mainly Czech, surrealism, as well as other cultural inspirations, first of all asks questions regarding the indifferentism of the contemporary man and the tendencies of dehumanization in today’s world. The text constitutes an attempt to ponder on the concept of body and corporeality in the animation works of one of the most outstanding artists of the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.