The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art and the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation have announced the dates for Ray Harryhausen – Titan of Cinema – an exhibition celebrating the work of the extraordinary film maker Ray Harryhausen, opening 23rd May 2020 and running until October, encompassing his entire career.
Ray’s wife, Diana, had very strong links to Scotland, as the great-great granddaughter of explorer David Livingstone. Ray himself designed a statue of the legendary missionary being attacked by a lion, one of his last projects; the statue now sits outside the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre.
Special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen elevated stop motion animation to an art during the 1950s to 1980s. For the first time, his collection will be showcased in its entirety, and, as such, this will be the largest and widest-ranging exhibition of his work ever, with newly restored and previously unseen material from his incredible archive.
Ray Harryhausen’s work included the films Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad films of the 1950s and 70s, One Million Years B.C and Mighty Joe Young, and a wider portfolio including children’s fairy tales and commercials. He also inspired a generation of film-makers such as Peter Jackson, Aardman Animation, Tim Burton, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, and his influence on blockbuster cinema can be felt to this day.
Sadly, Harryhausen died in May 2013 but he left his collection, which includes all of his film related artefacts to the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, that he set up in 1986 to look after his extensive collection, to protect his name and to further the art of model stop-motion animation.
Announced this weekend, this exhibition for Summer 2020 at the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art is in collaboration with the Harryhausen Foundation and will celebrate what would have been Harryhausen’s 100th birthday year.
“It is my hope that by setting up the Foundation the items can be kept as a coherent group,” he wrote when setting up the collection, “and that they will not suffer the fate of work by other artists which have been sold off individually to private collections where they become items of curiosity at the expense of their educational qualities or which have been stored in museum deposits as a curatorial personnel or their interests change.”
The archive consists of a treasure trove of material from Ray’s life, ranging from storyboards, paintings and scripts, through to original models, film equipment and plaster moulds. Much of this material has never been seen before, and as such the Foundation are aiming to present Ray’s work in a manner through it that has never been exhibited in the past where possible.
As well as providing such an influence on future filmmakers, the Foundation wish to showcase the artistry and genius of Ray’s creations, emphasising his unique talent.
As part of a series of events and initiatives under the banner #Harryhausen100, this exhibition will be accompanied by screenings, workshops and more, bringing his creations to life once more and celebrating the legacy of a filmmaker who changed the face of modern cinema.
The exhibition is still under development and more details will be disclosed in due course.
The National Galleries of Scotland cares for, develops, researches and displays the national collection of Scottish and international art and, with a lively and innovative programme of activities, exhibitions, education and publications, aims to engage, inform and inspire the broadest possible public.
Talking of Ray Harryhausen, Titan Books are publishing a terrific new book, Harryhausen – The Movie Posters, by Richard Holliss, out a book devoted solely to the promotional art associated with his films. Featuring posters from all over the world, as well as commentary from the Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, this is an essential addition to any fan’s library.
• Ray Harryhausen – Titan of Cinema | Saturday 23rd May 2020 to Sunday 25th October 2020, The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art (Modern Two) | Book tickets here | Sign up for their eBulletin on the National Galleries web site
• The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation – www.harryhausen100.com – has launched a highly praised podcast with exclusive content from a series of extensive recordings made with Ray covering his life and work which are now part of the Foundation’s film and audio archive. The shows include retrospectives on classic films, unique interviews, announcements and competitions. These are free to access by the public via iTunes and Soundcloud
National Galleries Scotland looks at the influence that artists such Gustave Doré and John Martin exerted on the art and film-making of Ray Harryhausen
A look at the profound influence that Harryhausen had on generations of visionary film-makers
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With thanks to Jeremy Briggs | An earlier version of this story noted only provisional dates; the article has been amended with the final ones, and links added to National Galleries Scotland features on the creator