Die Quay Brothers oder: «Die Produktivität des Fehlers»

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Buchan, Suzanne (2013)
  • Publisher: Schüren Verlag

This contribution (in German) to the Special Issue of Montage/av explores specific elements of the Quay Brothers' cinematic poetics, their research processes and some thematics that are expressed in their practice. It also aims to move beyond a persistent focus by authors (including this one) on their best-known short film, Street of Crocodiles (1986), by engaging with some of their more recent works for non-cinematic screens. Buchan proposes how early experiments in still and moving image contain the chiaroscuro, camera work, spatial play, natural and cultural motifs and the enigmatic experimental narratives that are characteristic of so many of their later films. She positions the Quay Brothers' notion of 'the liberation of the mistake' alongside fascinating processes of their creative research, to then examine specific features of their grotesque puppets. After a section on recent exhibitions of the artists' works, she concludes that throughout their opus, a continuity can be observed: the Quays' artistic devotion to the marginal, to the nobody and the unnoticed, quietly elevated into the sublime, through their investigations of what they call "a poetry of shadowy encounters and almost conspiratorial secretness" (McClatchy 1989, 94). Whether commissioned or in-dependently produced, the films retain the unique signature which informs their work.
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