A thrilling and immersive exhibition on the pioneering and unparalleled work of Ray Harryhausen (1920-2012), the cinematic titan whose movies shaped the face of modern cinema, will arrive at the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), as part of the late filmmaker’s centenary celebrations. Working in close collaboration with The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, the National Galleries are proud to present Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema, which will lead the reopening of Modern Two at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art from Saturday 24 October.
The exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of the art of the legendary trailblazer Harryhausen to date, who elevated stop-motion to an art-form between the 1950s-1980s, and whose exhilarating movies inspired a generation of the world’s greatest living filmmakers, among them Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Sir Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro.
The exhibition, originally scheduled for May this year and delayed due to COVID-19, will now lead the reopening of Modern Two with an extended run from October 2020 until September 2021. Visitors can secure their tickets via the new online booking system, available from www.nationalgalleries.org
Ray Harryhausen was responsible for some of twentieth century cinema’s most magical moments. The Titan of Cinema exhibition will showcase the original models at the very centre of these classic moments, such as the iconic skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts (1963), the Cyclops from his highly-influential Sinbad series of the 1950-70s and his landmark UFOs from 1956’s Earth vs the Flying Saucers. Among the models on show, are ones that would later inspire movies such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pan’s Labyrinth and Mars Attacks!
Also on display will be a young Harryhausen’s very first models, including his marionette inspired by the gorilla from Willis O’Brien’s film King Kong, as well as models from Mighty Joe Young, the first film Harryhausen and O’Brien worked on together and the movie which effectively launched Harryhausen’s career.
These miniature monuments to cinematic history are joined by a bounty of posters, memorabilia, never-seen-before photographs, storyboard illustrations and the drawings and art that inspired Harryhausen’s creatures and films, all taken from his remarkable collection.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker’s life, work and boundless imagination will be told through an immersive showing of sights, sounds and shadows, which caters not only for steadfast film enthusiasts, but for visitors of all ages and interests.
The exhibition also traces Harryhausen’s unique connection to Scotland. Not only did Ray and his lifelong partner Diana have an affinity for Scotland, but Diana was also the great-great granddaughter of the Scottish explorer David Livingstone. One of Harryhausen’s final projects was designing a statue of the legendary missionary, which now resides in Blantyre.
Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema is presented in collaboration with The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation (Charity No. SC001419) to celebrate what would have been his centenary birthday year.
As part of a series of events and initiatives under the banner #Harryhausen100, the exhibition will be accompanied by screenings, workshops, talks and more, bringing his creations to life once again and celebrating the legacy of the filmmaker who shaped cinema as we know it today.
Vanessa Harryhausen, daughter of Ray Harryhausen and a Trustee of The Ray and Dianna Harryhausen Foundation, said: “Our plans to celebrate Dad’s centenary at the National Galleries in Edinburgh are so exciting; if he was still around, he would be so enthused by all the centenary celebrations and plans! It’s wonderful that we are able to display so much of Dad’s collection: the space at the Galleries gives us great scope to display as many of his models and artworks as possible, as well as personal items which have never been exhibited before.”