The Gerald Scarfe exhibition is an explosion of colour.
It's a trip down the fantastic, psychedelic rabbit hole of Scarfe’s imagination. Although he’s the UK’s most prominent satirical cartoonist, Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen offers visitors the opportunity to explore the artist’s production designs.
Orpheus in the Underworld, set design. Gerald Scarfe. House of Illustration.
The House of Illustration has a selection of artefacts from the uncanny valley that is Scarfe’s career in production design. This includes his work designing storyboards, costumes and props for everything from Pink Floyd’s The Wall to a now-defunct English National Ballet production of The Nutcracker.
Actual costumes feature throughout the exhibition, like the gas masks for The Nutcracker rats, a horned red and green top hat from Orpheus in the Underworld, in displays that wouldn’t look out of place in the Fashion and Textile Museum. The ostentatious King Rat costume features alongside video footage of the dancer moving in the complex cape, bringing the preliminary sketches to life before your eyes. All of this is enhanced by the text panels, written by the artist himself.
Gerald Scarfe at Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen at the House of Illustration
One of Scarfe’s most significant roles was as the head animator on Disney’s Hercules. He was the first outside designer to work with the Disney company since Walt himself asked Salvador Dali to make an animated film, Destino, in the 1930s. One of the most interesting (and kid-friendly) components of the exhibition is the early sketches for Hercules. The how-to guide on re-creating Scarfe’s Hercules caricatures (Mixin’ Disney ’n’ Scarfe) is on display, as are the subsequent works made by animators trying to copy Scarfe’s style, with his comments written on them in pencil.
Some of Scarfe’s work on The Wall is on display at the House of Illustration, as is his short film, A Long Drawn Out Trip, a stream-of-consciousness piece that reflected Scarfe’s perception of American culture. It was this film that brought the members of Pink Floyd knocking on Scarfe’s door.
The Long Drawn Out Trip, painted film strips. Gerald Scarfe.
Scarfe's works were auctioned at Sothebys earlier this year, with the total sale garnering over £455,000. Select pieces are still for sale, but for those of us who can't afford the real deal, Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen is a powerful display of the artist's continuous, acerbic art style, one that stunningly translates to the real world from the page.
It's also worth checking out the recently refurbished Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel. In this ornate space, Gerald’s collection of amusing and conversation-provoking paintings adorn the marble walls turning Scarfes Bar into a living canvas.
We have secured pairs of free tickets for our Gold Whisper members to attend this exhibition on 9 December. What's more, there will be a rare Illustration Festival Pop-up featuring over 100 hand-picked stalls colouring House of Illustration's yard (from 11am - 5pm) on this day only.
|What||Review: Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen, House of Illustration|
House of Illustration
2 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH | MAP
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
22 Sep 17 – 21 Jan 18, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Price||£8.25 (with gift aid), Concession ticket with gift aid £8.25|
|Website||Click for more information|