Walerian Borowczyk: The Listening Eye

20 May 2014 – 6 Jul 2014

Cost of entry

Entry with day membership

ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Circus/Charing Cross

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This display in the Fox Reading Room focuses on the work of Polish painter, sculptor and filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk (1923 - 2006).

Primarily known for his erotic feature films (Immoral Tales, The Beast), Borowczyk trained in painting and sculpture, a background that greatly influenced his approach to filmmaking. Having established himself as a poster designer in Poland during the 1950s, Borowczyk emigrated to France in 1959, where he worked first as an animator and later as a live-action filmmaker. Throughout his career, Borowczyk became associated with key figures in both the Polish and French avant garde, including the poster artist Jan Lenica, cine-essayist Chris Marker, and electro-acoustic composer Bernard Parmegiani, not to mention surrealists such as André Breton, André Pieyre de Mandiargues and Max Ernst.

Featuring works on paper, wooden sound sculptures and rarely seen archival material (much of which was created as preliminary studies for his groundbreaking animations), this display is the first in the UK to be devoted to this unique and often overlooked artist and filmmaker.

Taking centre stage is Borowczyk's 1964 animation, Les Jeux des Anges to be screened in the cinema. The film features barren lunar landscapes, windowless spaces and mutilated angels, capturing many of the aesthetic tropes and themes found in his oeuvre as a whole.

The film also marks the beginning of Borowczyk's collaboration with Bernard Parmegiani, a protégé of musique conrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. Here, Parmegiani's shrill, chilling sounds mesh effortlessly with Borowczyk's desolate, nihilistic imagery to create a perfect union of senses.

In partnership with the KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival with seasons at the BFI, ICA, and Arrow Films DVD box set release of his films


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