Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Introduction to Jaroslav Malina

Today's post provides an introduction to Jaroslav Malina: Master of Dramatic Space, a documentary on renowned stage designer Jaroslav Malina from Dutch filmmaker Hans van Seventer. The 41-minute film, which examines Malina's life and career in theatre and, in particular, the obstacles and pressures and lack of personal and artistic freedoms under nazism and communism, was named Best International Short Documentary at the 2011 Garden State Film Festival.

Malina, born in 1937 in Prague, in the former Czechoslovakia, is known for "action design", an approach to theatre production that takes into consideration the creation and use of sets, costumes, and lighting as well as actors' performance text. Malina has designed more than 450 sets and costumes for theatre, film, and television. His set designs, paintings (showing influences of constructivism, the French style of abstraction known as tachisme, and Art Brut), graphics, and posters have been shown in more than two dozen solo exhibitions. His work is in several museums in the United States, including Theatre Research Institute at The Ohio State University and Museum of Performance & Design (Performing Arts Library & Museum) in San Francisco, California.

The trailer also is available on Vimeo.

The documentary (some details are here) is available on DVD.

My thanks to Artist on Film for the link to the documentary's trailer.

Jaroslav Malina Collection and Czech Theatre Collection at Ohio State University Libraries

Michael Grossberg, "Set apart: Vibrant works, models from theatrical designer offer 'intellectual and visual feast'", The Columbus Dispatch, December 13, 2009 (More than 100 of Malina's paintings and designs were exhibited at OSU's Urban Arts Space.)

Joe Brandesky, Ed., Czech Theatre Design in the Twentieth Century: Metaphor and Irony Revisited (University of Iowa Press, 2007) on GoogleBooks

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