So, decided to check out the Ray Harryhausen exhibition at Tate Britain today.
I understand the display featured is only a small part of the collection, so am looking forward to hopefully seeing the next/completed installment at some point.
The exhibition itself is set up in one of the Tates collection rooms and features the models used in the films, conceptual art, paintings by artists of influence to RHH, film posters and a display screen featuring trailers and commentaries on the films.
As I was taking pics on my phone I couldnt really capture the scope of the detail in some of the other artists paintings – they were truly astounding though and offered a fantastic insight into what influenced the creative genius of Harryhausen.
I’ve always been a fan of the Harryhausen universe as the films have many horror elements to them, so I guess it was kind of an early introduction for me together with the introduction of the “Stop- Motion” special effects style. Stop- Motion remained prevalent and was vastly improved upon in film up to and around the late 90s and although not the original pioneer of the technique (more the perfector), Harryhausen introduced to many what would eventually influence the artists of the CGI special effects world of today.
I’ve listed my pics and the museum descriptions from the exhibition below:
Medusa Model From Clash of the Titans
“Harryhausen designed Medusa to be a striking yet unconventionally hideously ugly demon, something that was completely different from what film audiences had seen before. Designing a serpent’s body for Medusa; this complimented the ugliness of her face and created a wholly repulsive creature. Harryhausen is the first artist to ever give her this shape.”
“This was the first bronze RHH created in 1978. The statue is based on the famous scene of when Perseus slays the Gorgon Medusa in Clash of the Titans. Using the shield as a mirror enabled him to avoid her gaze which would turn him to stone. Along with drawings of other scenes it was this bronze that helped sell the idea of Clash of the Titans to MGM.”
“If Medusa was the main reason I wanted to film the story of Perseus, the flying horse Pegasus became a very close second. Since seeing the wingless flying Horse in Kordas “The Thief of Bagdad” I had been fascinated with the concept. This is one of three different models of the flying horse used in the film.”
Skeleton from 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts
” The fighting skeletons from the mythological adventure Jason and the Argonauts 1962 are Harryhausens best known and admired creations. Creating the scene using stop-motion techniques was hugely difficult and laborious: each of the seven skeleton models had to be moved and photographed 24 times to make up one second of the film. Harryhausen recalled the whole sequence took a record 4 and a half months to capture on film. ”
I really enjoyed the exhibition and would thoroughly recommend it to anybody who’s a fan of the artists work. The exhibition is free and open until mid November time at Tate Britain in London.