Fotograf Magazine

Jan Švankmajer

Principles of Imagination in a Gourmet Geyser

Anything can come to life in Jan Švankmajer’s imagination, even meat in love in an ironic mode combining neediness with greed. In the one-minute film sketch Zamilované maso (Meet Love, 1988), the act of two steaks breaking free from the captivity of a large leg of meat comes alive in the directness and imagination of hidden meanings. The two solitaires establish a certain form of attraction and, it seems, intimacy between them. Reciprocally, they probe their brief shared space-time encircled by human conveniences, oblivious to the hostile signals of knives, sharpened forks, graters, pots and red-hot pans. They check themselves out egoistically in a polished spoon while rollicking, wooing and seducing each other. The music from the transistor relaxes the atmosphere, dampens the awareness of a threat. The forbidden release escalates, during dancing and flirting in a dishtowel gown, into an amorous act in a flour duvet, only to have the moment of ecstasy cut short by the direct hit of a fork and the betrayal of a hot frying pan.

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