From Beetlejuice to Wednesday: Blockbuster Burton exhibit returns to Prague

The American director has cited Czech visionaries Zeman and Švankmajer as essential influences. The exhibit is slated to begin in May 2024. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.11.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 15.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Visitors to the Czech capital next year can immerse themselves in the cinematic world of director Tim Burton with a new exhibition signaling the return of his unique vision.

According to Kateřina Riley of Art Movement, Tim Burton Returns will unveil over 500 items including intimate self-portraits, storyboards, sketches, as well as puppetry and photographs spanning Burton's career, from 1980s classics like Beetlejuice to more recent hits such as Netflix's Wednesday.

The new exhibition at the Municipal House (Obecní dům) looks to repeat the success of Burton's previous show in the Czech capital which saw over 100,000 visitors descend upon the Gothic Stone Bell House (U Kamenného Zvonu) on Old Town Square. The American director will once again return to Prague for the opening.

“There are so many amazing animators throughout the history of this country. As computers have taken over the world, as you walk around the city, this place has the feeling of art and handmade. It continues here; it’s incredible.”

-Tim Burton on visiting Prague in 2013

The collection, a variation of which was first exhibited in 2009 at New York's Museum of Modern Art and has been seen in Los Angeles' County Museum of Art and Paris's Cinémathèque française features never-before-seen materials from Burton's latest projects, like Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, the live-action version of Dumbo and the forthcoming Beetlejuice sequel.

Curator Jenny He, who previously organized the New York and Paris exhibits, selected from some 10,000 items from Burton's archive for the Prague exhibit. Architects from Olgoj Chorchoj studio, who previously draped the Stone Bell House in Burtonesque stripes and stick figures, will once again immerse visitors in the artist's distinct world via fantastical redesigned spaces.

The exhibition builds on Burton's own fond memories of Czech filmmakers like Jan Švankmajer and the influential special-effects pioneer Karel Zeman. During his previous visit to Prague, Burton recalled how impressed he was by Zeman's captivating style.

"It was one of the main reasons why I became interested in hand-made puppets and a slightly more contact way of making films," Burton said, specifically citing Zeman's Journey to Prehistory and Baron Prášil.

Tim Burton Returns comes to Prague's Municipal House from May 1-Sept. 30, 2024. Accompanying lectures, workshops, and tours will take place throughout the exhibit's run. Tickets are on sale now.

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