24 March – 5 June 2016 at Camden Arts Centre
Partners and life-long collaborators from 1929 until their deaths in 1988, Franciszka and Stefan Themersons’ diverse practice encompassed painting, photography, film, theatre design, literature, concrete poetry, publishing and illustration.
Acclaimed as the most important experimental filmmakers in pre-war Poland, they were driven by a dedication to defy convention, avoiding repetition of expression through continual experimentation. Founding the independent publishing house Gaberbocchus Press in 1948, they published more than sixty titles, aimed to be ‘best lookers rather than best sellers’, including works by Raymond Queneau, Bertrand Russell and Kurt Schwitters. Throughout their careers and across all their art forms, they attentively unpacked issues of ethics, language, freedom, conformism, dignity and the human condition.
Books, Camera, Ubu focuses on three main areas of their creative output; their pioneering experimental film practice; the Gaberbocchus Press; and Franciszka’s stage design, puppets and a comic strip, all on the subject of Alfred Jarry’s anarchic 1890s play, Ubu Roi.