Within the extensive œuvre of the imperial theatre engineer Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini (1636–1707), which is part of the collection of the Theatermuseum, Vienna, some 125 drawings can be classified as grotesque and comic. Monstrous and strange figures, meticulous studies of uneven faces and grotesque-infernal scenes stand next to images showing masked figures of the Commedia all’improvviso. Characterized by bright colours, eccentricity, and lustfully changed proportions, Burnacini’s drawings bear witness to an idea of beings in which the boundaries between the vegetal, animal, mechanical, and human are blurred.
The grotesque and the comic seem to be interdependent and the eeriness of the unusual appearances evokes laughter. This in turn deforms bodies and faces. The rediscovery of these exquisite drawings in the exhibition Grotesque Comedy stimulates a multidisciplinary examination of the grotesque and its reception.
Stefan Hulfeld (Institute for theatre, film and music science, Universität Wien)
Rudi Risatti (Theatermuseum)
Andrea Sommer-Mathis (Institute for Cultural Studies and Theatre History, ÖAW)
With the kind support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna
Streaming: Benjamin Dietz, Juliane Fink, Patrick Aprent
Video recording: Benjamin Dietz, David Krems
Video cut: Benjamin Dietz
Light and sound: Andreas Riedel
Release soon at the publishing house Hollitzer
€ 40 (incl. MwSt.)
Available at the Museum's shop and online