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ADOLF BORN (article first published : 2001-03-20)

Running at the Technikon Natal Gallery until March 22 is an exhibition by the Embassy of the Czech Republic and is proud to host this show by one of the leading founders of the modern Czech cartoon. Born is recognized internationally as a master painter, graphic artist, imaginative illustrator, stage designer and creator of animated films.

The artist was born in 1930 in Ceske Velenice on the Czech-Austrian border and was educated in Prague at the School of Applied Arts in the Department of Caricature and Newspaper Drawing. As well as newspaper drawing, Born studied book illustration. In all, Born has illustrated more that 220 books, social satire being his favoured subject. He continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague under the tutorship of Antonin Pele, an excellent political cartoonist.

From the mid 1950's to the mid 1970's Born devoted his time to cartoons and became a world-renowned cartoonist, winning numerous awards and having many international exhibitions. After censorship by the Czechoslovakian Communist regime which prohibited the publication of his cartoons in 1973, Born concentrated on the making of animated films and graphics. Film graphics and animation enabled him to enrich his graphic expression with movement, sound and music.

In this medium he could freely apply his sense of the absurd narrative, the grotesque and the irrational and also his ability to perceive the comic element in the tragedy and folly of life. Hallmarks of his work are his cosmopolitan sense of humour and fantasy which embraces the picturesque and the world of animals. He creates allegories which, through literary parallels, quotations and paraphrases, establish a multi-layered metaphor of open meanings.

The film company Kratky Film Praha has generously permitted the screening of an extensive collection of famous animated cartoons and puppet films at this exhibition. At this mini festival audiences will have an opportunity to view the works created by the Czech animation studios which are so well-known to the rest of the world and which have won countless international prizes and recognition at various festivals.

These videos, several of which are designed and directed by Born, are not only characterized by their outstanding creative vitality and animation mastery, but on a deeper level, they stimulate critical thinking by reinforcing certain intellectual and ethical values.




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