Lot 106
  • 106

STEFAN THEMERSON Enlarged film stills from Europa

Estimate
20,000 - 30,000 USD
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Description

  • Stefan Themerson
  • Enlarged film stills from Europa
  • gelatin silver prints
  • Overall 10 by 3 3/4  in. (25.4 by 9.5 cm.)
a unique object, a sequence of 4 photographs, mounted together, annotated '9' [circled] and '10' [circled] in pencil on the mount, framed, 1931-32

Provenance

By descent to Jasia Reichardt, Franciszka Themerson's niece, London 

Ubu Gallery, New York, 1996

Literature

Europa: A Poem by Anatol Stern (London, 1962), unpaginated

Georges Didi-Huberman, Atlas: How to Carry the World on One's Back?  (Madrid, 2010), p. 412

Catalogue Note

Europa, created in 1931-32 by Polish avant-garde artists Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, is considered to be the first experimental Polish film.  It is based on Anatol Stern’s 1929 futuristic poem of the same name, in which he described the growing social tensions in Europe and the impending destruction of the continent. 

Extant photocollages by Stefan Themerson are rare.  They were originally fabricated as visual recreations from their five short films, most of which no longer survive.  The original film reel for Europa was lost during the Second World War and photocollages such as that offered here are the only surviving visuals of this important document. This unique photocollage of consecutive film stills is from the last part of the movie: ‘Hips — Bread — Head,’ as captioned by the Themersons in their later reconstruction of the script.

Although Stefan Themerson intended the fifteen minute silent film to feel primitive, László Moholy-Nagy, who saw Europa in London in 1936, called it ‘a sophisticated film.’  It included all the photographic inventions favored by avant-garde artists and photographers: photogram, multi exposure, and photomontage. 

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