The Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets at MoMA, New York

With such a title as On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets, the diverse nature of this exhibition will come as no surprise. Opening on the 7th August. this is the first major retrospective encompassing the full range of work by the Quay Brothers. The identical twin brothers have worked together in their London studio, Atelier Koninck, for over 30 years, creating avant-garde stop-motion puppet animation, live-action films and graphic design that challenge easy categorisation.

The Quay Brothers studied at Philadelphia College of Art and then later at the Royal College of Art in London, and have influenced a generation of artists and animators with their own unique style. As well as creating their own projects, they have collaborated widely with festivals, theatre directors, opera houses and choreographers. Earlier this year, the duo curated Leeds Canvas: OverWorlds & UnderWorlds, a two-day event which saw some of the city’s most dramatic spaces transformed through a series of major public performances and artistic installations.

This exhibition features over 300 pieces and presents the full scope of the duo’s achievements: animated and live-action films, puppets, drawings, paintings, graphic projects, calligraphic works and installations. Comprised of their student films from the late 1960s to set designs for Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1991) and more recent site-specific pieces based on the work of Béla Bartók and Kafka, this exhibition highlights the sheer breadth and depth of the duo’s practice.

On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets, 12 August until 7 January 2013, MoMA, 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019.

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes. 2005. Germany/UK/France. Quay Brothers.
Image courtesy of the filmmakers.