Vampires: The Evolution of the Myth, organised in cooperation with Cinémathèque Française, explores film-makers’ fascination with this terrifying figure which has left its mark in 100 years of popular culture.
In the early 20th century, the newborn film industry quickly appropriated the vampire myth, which had emerged from ancient Greek and Arab superstitions, had extended in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and had been reinforced during the 18th century in scientific writings and novels of English Romanticism written in the 19th century. The expressionist film Nosferatu (1922), by F. W. Murnau, a free adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, became a fundamental work of the relationship between cinema and the myth of the vampire.
The film lays the foundation for a metaphysical vision of cinema as art; the art of embalming and resurrection, the art of incarnation and illusion. Since then, cinema and vampirism have been linked in their theoretical approach to the character and speaks for two facets of the same aesthetic narrative. Many great filmmakers have succumbed to the temptation to represent their own vision of myth to convey something about their artistic practice, for instance Dreyer, Browning, Tourneur, Polanski, Herzog, Coppola, Burton, Bigelow and Weerasethakul. Dracula is undoubtedly the most populare vampire in film history, and has been used in productions all over the world (Hollywood, Europe, Mexico, Philippines, Nigeria, Hong Kong, etc.).
The exhibition brings together a selection of the maelstrom of fantasy films that the myth has fostered, from avant-garde projects to blockbusters. It explains the tensions between cinema and this myth, aware of the vampire metamorphoses that are by definition, linked to the development of film.
In addition to showing films and literary works, this thematic exhibition includes a selection of vampires in other artistic disciplines, such as Max Ernst's surrealist collages, some engravings of Los Caprichos de Goya, the disturbing paintings of contemporary artist Wes Lang or the iconic image of Dracula played by Bela Lugosi, which was used by Andy Warhol in his lithograph entitled The Kiss.
The dialogue and meetings between films and works of art, provide the foundations of this multidisciplinary exhibition, which places cinema as the main narrative axis. From its first appearance in the cinema to those of television in the 21st century, the vampire resurfaces again and again from the dark, defying its fans with identity issues. Neither dead nor alive and fundamentally marginal, the vampire myth raises the question about the nature of its being, making it a prodigious subject for artists