From Imagination to Animation: Six Decades of Zagreb Film


From Imagination to Animation: Six Decades of Zagreb Film

30.01.2020 - 31.01.2021 / Muzej suvremene umjetnosti Zagreb

Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art, 30 January - 14 June 2020 

A great multimedia exhibition entitled From Imagination to Animation: Six Decades of Zagreb Film is dedicated to famous works of art created within this institution founded in 1953, which has produced more than two thousand animated, documentary, educational and feature films, as well as commercials in the six decades of its existence. 

This history includes the world-acknowledged phenomenon of the Zagreb School of Animated Film and more than 500 awards, among which a special place belongs to the prestigious American Academy Award, or the Oscar, for the best animated film, awarded in 1962 to Surogat (Ersatz) by Dušan Vukotić. It is also important to mention three Oscar nominations – in 1964, for the film Igra (The Game) by Dušan Vukotić, then in 1973 for Tup-tup (Tup Tup) by Nedeljko Dragić and in 1980 for the film Lutka snova (Dream Doll), directed by Bob Godfrey and Zlatko Grgić. There are also numerous awards from local, European and world film festivals and animated film festivals.

Starting from Dušan Vukotić’s statement about animation being the most versatile art of expression, a form of synthesised communication, education and information which is wonderfully attractive in all its forms, the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art will, for the first time, present animated films by Zagreb Film in this great of an extent and in a comprehensive, multimedia way. These films have won over the audience and professional juries all over the world thanks to the fantastic stories they tell, as well as the inventiveness, creativity and superior aesthetic value of their original, recognisable visual language.

The exhibition presents outstanding achievements by brilliant authors of the Zagreb School, Croatian artistic heritage of the highest level acknowledged by the whole world. Apart from films, the exhibition also showcases valuable archival materials of Zagreb Film, the Croatian State Archives as well as private collections – drawings, sketches, cels and authentic items – by setting them in the context of the time when they were created and by connecting them with the works of art from collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art and other Croatian museums. Among the rich production of Zagreb Film, we have chosen more than 200 animated films, as well as excellent documentary and film production that will be shown in the museum's Gorgona Hall during the exhibition.

The Studio for Animated Film was founded in 1956 as a part of Zagreb Film and it marks the beginning of an intensive period of artistic animation development. Due to an original approach and a specific animation process, choice of topics and high visual quality, this concept attracted great attention with its first appearance at the Cannes Film Festival in 1958, which is why French critics Georges Sadoul and André Martin named it the Zagreb School of Animated Film. At the exhibition, visitors will be able to experience the atmosphere of an animated film studio with a lot of interactive content and accompanying programs.

The Studio for Animated Film has gathered many strong authors’ personalities whose top achievements have changed the history of animation. One of the first great successes was the Grand Prix award at the Venice Film Festival for Vatroslav Mimica’s animated film Samac (Alone) in 1959, and only three years later, in 1962, Dušan Vukotić’s film Surogat (Ersatz) won an Oscar. Alongside them, the golden history of the Zagreb School of Animated Film was created by authors such as Nikola Kostelac, Boris Kolar, Zlatko Bourek, Borivoj Dovniković, Nedeljko Dragić, Zdenko Gašparović, Zlatko Grgić, Vladimir Jutriša, Aleksandar Marks, Vladimir Kristl, Pavao Štalter, Dragutin Vunak, Ante Zaninović, Milan Blažeković, Zvonimir Lončarić, Joško Marušić, Krešimir Zimonić, Branko Ranitović, Zlatko Pavlinić and many others. Series like Profesor Baltazar (Professor Balthazar), Inspektor maska (Inspector Mask), Maxi Cat and Mali leteći medvjedi (The Little Flying Bears) are the continuation of the golden list of achievements produced by Zagreb Film. The beginning of the new century belongs to a new generation of authors, such as Nicole Hewitt, Daniel Šuljić, Irena Jukić Pranjić, Livio Rajh, Marko Tadić, Darko Bakliža, Dušan Gačić, Danijel Žeželj and others, who contribute new ideas and approaches to the field of animation.

At the time of Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union, with this exhibition the Museum of Contemporary Art presents a unique film and visual arts phenomenon acknowledged not only in Croatia but also worldwide in all aspects of form, pointing to the need for musealisation of this specific and very valuable artistic heritage.

Authors of the exhibition: Simon Bogojević Narath, Vesna Meštrić and Snježana Pintarić
Visual identity and visual set-up of the exhibition: Vladimir Končar / Vedran Kasap and Ozana Ursić (Clinica Studio)