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Final Week of Unique Cinematic Art Exhibit at Gordon Galleries

Stephen and Timothy Quay during production of 'Street of Crocodiles,' c. 1985.

"Dormitorium: An Exhibition of Film Décors by the Quay Brothers," is now on display at the Old Dominion University's Baron and Ellin Gordon Galleries, one of only three stops in its first U.S. exhibition.

"Dormitorium" is a traveling show of the sets, or décors, used in the creation of the Quay Brothers' famous stop-action animated films. This is the first time the sets have been exhibited in the United States. The exhibition comes to ODU following displays at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Born and raised in Norristown, Pa., identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1969 - Stephen with a degree in film and Timothy with a degree in illustration. They later moved to England to attend the Royal College of Art in London where they made their first film and founded Koninck Studios in 1980, the current production location of all of their films.

Academically trained in film and illustration, the Quays' integration of sculpture, graphic design, architecture and the moving image places their work on the outskirts of common categories. The brothers have built a cult following through their creation of dark and surreal films, which frequently are based on the culture of Eastern Europe.

Their film "Street of Crocodiles," based on the short novel of the same name by the Polish author and illustrator Bruno Schulz, was selected by director and animator Terry Gilliam as one of the 10 best animated films of all time. Critic Jonathan Romney included it on his list of the 10 best films in any medium. Their work has strongly influenced filmmakers and set designers, such as Tim Burton and Julie Taymor.

The Quays also directed an animated sequence in the 2002 Oscar-winning film "Frida," starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina. Their first feature film, "Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life," was released in 1995, and "The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes" in 2006. Their third feature, based on Schulz's "Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass," is currently in preproduction.

A recent article about "Dormitorium" appeared in the September issue of the Brooklyn Rail, a monthly art journal offering critical perspectives on art, politics and culture.

"Dormitorium," which opened Oct. 24, will be on display at the Gordon Galleries through Sunday, Dec. 13.

Admission to the Gordon Galleries, located at 4509 Monarch Way in ODU's University Village, Norfolk, is free. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 757-683-6271 or contact Fred Bayersdorfer, assistant dean for the arts, at 757-683-3020 or fbayersd@odu.edu.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support of Stephen and Timothy Quay, Ed Waisnis from the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery at the University of the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

This article was posted on: December 8, 2009

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