Grotesque! Monstrous Arts and their Return

International conference, 8-9 October 2020

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

Technical department
Streaming: Benjamin Dietz, Juliane Fink, Patrick Aprent
Video recording: Benjamin Dietz, David Krems
Video cut: Benjamin Dietz
Light and sound: Andreas Riedel

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Opening - Rudi Risatti

Opening - Andrea Sommer Mathis

Opening - Stefan Hulfeld

Opening - Michael Rößner

Markus WÖRGÖTTER: Arlecchino: Creature without depth?

Laura RITTER: „ich habe nitt baldt was bössers gesehen“. Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini and the diablery of the Dutch 16th century

Valentina CONTICELLI: The Uffizi Grotesques

Alessandro PONTREMOLI: I Balli di Sfessania. Choreographic transgression between grotesque vision and reality

Jerôme DE LA GORCE: From the “grotesche” designs to the “habits grotesques” inventions: Jean Berain (1640-1711)

Friday, 9 October 2020

Elisabeth GROSSEGGER: „Grotesque comedy“ – Herbert Fritsch at the Viennese Burgtheater

Federico CELESTINI:Distorted Sounds: Conceptualisation of the Grotesque in Music

Stefan SCHMIDL: The grotesque in the cinema of Wien-Film. Aspects of audio-visual situations, representations, and characters

Franz FILLAFER: The Grotesque as Reflexive Figure of the Revolution

Christoph LEITGEB: Grotesque Soup: Bakhtin and the Recipes of Literature

Rainer STOLLMANN: The Laughter of the Grotesque

Concluding session

Exhibition Trailer (8 October 2020 until 2 August 2021)

Publication about the exhibition

€ 40 (incl. MwSt.)
Available at the Museum's shop and online

Presentation Summaries
(in English)

Presentation Summaries (in English)



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