Today Tabakalera has presented the new exhibition El sueño de la sultana, a journey through the creation process of the first animated feature film by the San Sebastian artist Isabel Herguera. The film, inspired by the feminist story of the same name written by the Bengali writer Rokeya Hussain, will soon premiere in the Official Section of the San Sebastián Festival, a collaborator, as well, of the exhibition.
Exhibition Hall 2 of the International Center for Contemporary Culture will house the exhibition, composed of different environments, as if it were the artist's own studio. Not in vain, a large part of the film has been developed in the Tabakalera Artists' Space, dedicated to supporting artistic creation, where Isabel Herguera and her team have worked on several residencies since 2016.
Various creative environments comprise the exhibition tour of El sueño de la sultana, in which among others, numerous drawings made by Isabel Herguera in India between 2005 and 2017 can be seen. It was then when she began to imagine the film and capturing the atmosphere and life in motion through the hustle and bustle of the big Indian cities. Along with these watercolor drawings, a sound installation will evoke the sounds of the places where the film's scenes take place: Calcutta, New Delhi, or Ahmedabad. The project took shape in 2013, after some workshops that the artist gave in India, and entered the production phase more than three years ago.
Another of the techniques found in the exhibition are the murals made with the technique of temporary tattoos or mehndi, an ancient art made in henna, with which a group of mehndi artists has designed The country of women, the feminist utopia that Begum Rokeya Hossain described in the story Sultana's Dream written in 1905 and which was the driving force behind the feature film.
The exhibition reflects all the phases of the process of creating an animated film. From the compilation of ideas and references through the moodboard to the storyboard and the animatic, in which a series of ordered and animated sequences are added that also have sound.
Isabel Herguera has provided her travel notebooks for the exhibition, which include multiple storyboards of the artist's stays in Marsilliana (Italy), Cologne (Germany) and San Sebastian (Spain). “I carry my notebook with me everywhere; Sometimes just having it with me comforts me. As soon as I open those pages, I feel at home. Sometimes I draw when I am at peace, but most of the time I draw when I am seeking tranquility. The act of drawing is private, but once the notebook is finished, it no longer feels like my own. It comes off me. It becomes public,” says the artist.
Puppets and cutouts in black cardboard and tracing paper complete a unique exhibition, which will show the procedure by which superimposed scenes are generated thanks to the multiplane technique. A video will also be shown with discarded scenes from the film and tests that were once part of the creation process of El sueño de la sultana / The Sultana's Dream. In addition, the public will be able to access immersive augmented reality content via mobile phone or tablet.
The exhibition has an extensive program of activities in which the team that participated in the film The Sultana's Dream will take part. On the one hand, the visual artist Ángel Peris will offer the workshop Atlas. Art on paper and Chinese ink, and the filmmakers Izibene Oñederra and Begoña Vicario, for their part, will participate in a session of animated shorts. In addition, there will be guided visits, family art sessions, a workshop to build a multi-plane with the help of Laura Ibáñez or a Talking Cinema session with Herguera herself.
Biography – Isabel Herguera
Isabel Herguera studied Fine Arts at the Kunstakademie Duesseldorf (Germany) and Animation at the California Institute of the Arts (Calarts). She worked on several animation productions in Los Angeles before returning to Spain in 2003 to direct Animac, the International Animation Festival of Catalonia and assume the coordination and programming of the Moving Image Laboratory (LIM) at Arteleku.
She has directed and produced several short films such as La gallina ciega (2005), Ámár (2010), Bajo la almohada (2012), Amore d'inverno (2015) and Kutxa beltza (2016). Since 2005 she has regularly taught an animation workshop at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad (India) and is a visiting professor of animation at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing (China). Since 2017 she is a full professor of animation at (KHM) Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Germany.
She has just directed El sueño de la sultana / The Sultana's Dream, her first feature film that is the origin of the exhibition and which premieres in the Official Section at the San Sebastián Festival and in commercial theaters on November 17.
From September 15 to January 7, 2024.
Tuesdays to Sundays, 12:00-14:00, 16:00-20:00
Exhibition Hall 2, Tabakalera