Fondazione Palazzo Ducale Genova
At Palazzo Ducale in Genoa from October 14th, 2022 to April 2nd, 2023
Enchanting the audience by telling timeless stories is considered a true art. However, behind the typical immediacy of the perfect artistic result lies – as it is often the case in the art world – a years-long creative research work, generally unknown to those who actually listen to these stories.
After the absolute success of the exhibition at Mudec in Milan and Palazzo Barberini in Rome, it is now the turn of Palazzo Ducale in Genoa to host “Disney. The Art of Telling Timeless Stories”, an exhibition revolving around Disney Animation’s storytelling, from October 14th, 2022 to April 2nd, 2023.
The exhibition, promoted and produced by 24 ORE Cultura-Gruppo 24 ORE and curated by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library with the collaboration of Federico Fiecconi, historian and critic of comics and animation cinema, is an opportunity for adults and children alike to learn the story of Walt Disney, a pioneer in the art of animation, and of his most famous characters. Disney’s innovative creative approach to storytelling has created some of the most beautiful and famous films of the 20th century, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. The exhibition features valuable original works from the Disney Archives, including immortal feature films and other celebrated Walt Disney Animation Studios films such as Hercules, The Little Mermaid, up to the most recent animated film Frozen 2 – The Secret of Arendelle, created by a new generation of artists and filmmakers still deeply inspired by Walt Disney’s legacy.
The exhibition at Palazzo Ducale is enriched by the special inclusion of artefacts from the Wolfsonian Collection, the museum that is part of the Polo dei Musei di Nervi. In particular, the public will be able to admire the stuffed puppets depicting Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from around 1936.
The exhibition itinerary is characterized by a threefold narrative key.
The itinerary is a narration of Walt Disney’s masterpieces, connecting the stories – which we all know in the Disney version – back to the ancient matrices of epic tradition: the myths, medieval legends and folklore, fairy tales and fables which for centuries have constituted the archetypal narrative heritage of the world’s different cultures, a true melting pot of traditions from different continents. These are also the thematic sections of the exhibition: the most famous stories which have inspired Disney films are presented in a narrative key, through the display of creative research preparatory sketches, focused on the exploration of characters, settings, and narrative plots.
Indeed, the great innovative effort of Disney’s artists has always consisted – and today still consists – of translating these stories into films using a variety of artistic tools, from hand-drawing (a founding element of the work carried out at the Studios) to digital animation, in order to capture the essence of ancient fairy tales and revitalize them, thus renovating their universal value.
In fact, animation is an artistic medium allowing different narratives to be represented with immediacy. Walt Disney and his team worked on these themes from the very beginning. The animals and objects, fairies and dwarves of fairy tales have taken on a human aspect and human feelings, with a naturalness and verisimilitude that have quickly achieved planetary success. Thanks to a very detailed study of human and animal behaviour, Disney artists over the years have created universally known characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Myths and legends of gods and heroes, animal tales, tales of knights, witches, wizards, and princesses have become cartoons: from Robin Hood to The sword in the Stone to Three Little Pigs, from Hercules to Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, to Frozen 2 – The Secret of Arendelle.
While the symbolic value of the stories over the decades has remained intact, the production techniques have evolved.
This is the second key to the exhibition’s journey: the public has the opportunity to discover how animation masterpieces are created, the “behind the scenes” of some of the greatest Disney animated films of all times, and get to the very heart of the studio and its artistic processes.
Indeed, it takes months and years of work by an entire team coordinated by a director to produce an animated film – a slow, continuous, and very meticulous creative process that starts from an initial idea and ends with the creation of an entire film, based on thousands of images that gradually come to life.
The exhibition, is an opportunity for visitors to walk through the entire creative process behind the scenes of a Disney story.
You start with an idea, a story concept, and develop a narrative plot. Then, characters are created. Every single character animating the story is “visualized” by Disney creatives and, even before our hero (or villain, or sidekick) is assigned the face and features we will become so familiar with, their eyes, hair, clothes and most iconic movements are envisioned on innumerable preparatory sketches and three-dimensional maquettes, through which the character slowly comes to life.
The team’s work is supervised by an artistic director. Settings are determined via the same creative process and under the artistic director’s guidance. A variety of artistic techniques (including graphite drawing, coloured pencils and pastels, charcoals, watercolours, tempera, acrylics, and collages) are used. Computer graphics, which today assist the study and realization of film scenes, are only the evolution of those traditional techniques, and are mainly involved in the subsequent steps of animation and colouring, now carried out through digital processes. The film is created by turning hundreds of thousands of images into frames, one after another.
The third narrative key to the exhibition allows for a personal and experimental interpretation of the great and creative art of storytelling.
Visitors are encouraged to become storytellers themselves and will be able to walk through the exhibition halls not only as passive spectators, but as leading actors.
The goal is indeed to build one’s own narrative, collected into a small ‘booklet’ that visitors may take home. Through interactive stations and a setting evoking the sceneries of Disney’s great animation masterpieces, the itinerary itself will provide every storyteller with their tools of the trade. Room after room, everyone will experience the structural elements which are key to bringing any narrative to life – setting, characters, narrative plot – to the point of experiencing the thrill of immersing oneself in the work of an animation artist through the same techniques used in the Disney Studios.
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue “Disney. The Art of Telling Timeless Stories” published by 24 ORE Cultura.
Full price € 14 – Reduced € 12