Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory, exhibition at EYE plus book and screenings


Poster for Vittoria o morte (Itala 1913) by Pier Luigi Caldanzano

Tomorrow, Friday12 December, the exhibition Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory opens at EYE. Three years after the recognition of EYE’s Desmet Collection by Unesco, accepting it in its Memory of the World Register, EYE organizes a lavish exhibition on the cinema and the film world of film distributor and cinema owner Jean Desmet (1875-1956). The exhibition is a new step in the policy of exhibition making at EYE’s new building in Amsterdam-Noord, and starkly contrasts with the previous exhibition of the light sculptures by Anthony McCall. Curator is Mark Paul Meyer, my former head of department when I worked in the nitrate archive in the early 1990s and when it was still called (Nederlands) Filmmuseum. When I was asked to write an article for the accompanying book, instead of repeating what I had written in my 2000 dissertation and my 2003 commercial edition Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade, I focused on the wonderful poster collection, which more matched my present teaching and research on crossmedial ties between cinema and other arts, in this case graphic design. I also taught a course on film posters for some five years, which triggered me as well. Since I started the research for this article a year ago, I contacted poster curators at various European archives and consulted recent and older publications, in particular those by Roberto Della Torre on early Italian film posters, and Johannes Kamps on early German posters. Research on early film posters has been scarce so far, but thanks these archives and authors I got more grip and was even able to identify various designers of Desmet posters. The result you can read in the book Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory, which appears in an English and a Dutch edition. I will also give a free lecture (in Dutch) on this topic this Sunday at 15.00 at EYE, preceding the projection of the Italian sensational crime film Filibus, live accompanied by the EYE Film Ensemble. The exhibition Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory runs exceptionally long, until 12 April 2015, enabling international scholars visiting the conference The Colour Fantastic: Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema at EYE to visit the exhibition.

~ by Ivo Blom on December 11, 2014.

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