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HomeFashionAt Fondazione Prada, David Cronenberg delves into the bizarre world of anatomical...

At Fondazione Prada, David Cronenberg delves into the bizarre world of anatomical wax figures

Why choose an ocean background for your video? Are you trying to relate these wax figures to aquatic fantasies, or to the long history of seascapes in the visual arts?

Their faces seem to mimic the baroque faces of saints and martyrs, as in Bernini’s sculptures of Avila Teresa, Saint Lawrence and Ludovica Albertoni . Baroque depictions of pleasure and pain and scarred bodies by artists such as El Greco, Bernini, Bosch, Caravaggio or Gentileschi are a great addition to your films combining science fiction and horror with religion or What impact did the mystic themes come together in?

this is a good idea. I don’t feel like it’s there, really, I must say. Much of it comes from the work itself and from my own idiosyncratic observations of the human condition. It seemed like a more direct, one-to-one relationship between the narrative and the image I was creating. I should say I am a rabid atheist. The life of a saint is a bit of a frightening parable to me. So, it’s not something I would be attracted to, I don’t think so. But maybe unconscious or unconscious…because as a licensed existentialist, I think there is a vector involved in accepting martyrdom. In terms of our own personal experience, we will die and we will have nothing. Accepting that is obviously very difficult, which is why we have art and religion — as far as I’m concerned, anyway. Philosophically, of course, it is the basis of existentialism. There might be this link, a backdoor link. It feels right when I say it, let me put it this way.

Your films are often associated with futurism and futuristic dystopias and technology, but you have also made film versions of operas Madame Butterfly, you The director is the opera version of The Fly , I read that as a child you were fascinated by early Disney films, all of which were rooted in baroque visuals. I was wondering if your interest in baroque forms like opera and the grotesque was part of what drew you to this very strange phenomenon of the wax body?

I can’t deny it. It’s not an obvious connection, but it has a distinct reality. I was certainly influenced by those early animated films. It’s weird – the characters’ faces are cartoon-like in some ways, while their inner bodies are correct and very lifelike. There’s an interesting schizophrenia in there that I think you could apply to all Disney movies. They are also very schizophrenic in many ways. [The editor I was working with at the time] said to me, “These women seem to have been waiting for you for years.” I kind of liked that.

I think it’s real in the way the women are permanently housed in these vitrines, as if they were sleeping, evoking Disney images from fairy tales sleeping Beauty. It was as if they had been asleep for hundreds of years.



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