The temporary exhibition 'Rutas de Polichinela' is now open

A tour on the European puppetry tradition throughout several centuries

Tolosa Puppets International Center, Topic, has opened the exhibition 'Rutas de Polichinela' (Pulcinella routes), a tour on the history of the heroes of the European puppetry tradition throughout several centuries.

This temporary exhibition, the 12th since Topic was established in November 2009, will come to an end on March 9 next year. During the summer of 2014 it will be available at the Museu da Marioneta, Lisbon. The display is based on the book written by the puppeteer Toni Rumbau after two years of research.

The purpose of this exhibition is to disclose the history of Pulcinella for the general public, “a very unique character, he is the departure point of the exhibition: he was born in Naples during Renaissance times, crossed Europe and suffered transformations in each city”, explains Toni Rumbau. The Catalonian artist explains that “the Neapolitan mask, when moving and expanding from city to city throughout centuries, has become a prolific archetype of vitality and sovereignty, that of individual people, after having generated around the whole continent a family of siblings and relatives closely connected among themselves.

Pulcinella spread with different shapes and names around all Europe. “Most cities have a puppet representing them: small myths making up their shared humble souls, speaking out for their most peculiar, typical and hidden features. Naples has Pulcinella, Paris Polichinelle, London Punch, Lyon Guignol, Moscow Petrushka, Barcelona Titella, Madrid Don Cristóbal, and Tolosa, thanks to Topic, has now Mariona”.

The head of the museum area at Topic, María San Sebastián, illustrates how the process of setting up this exhibition “has been more challenging than other times, as it was necessary to coordinate many people and institutions from several different countries from and outside Europe”. A complex project that took off two years ago. “The result is extremely pleasing —asserts San Sebastián— for we have built a strong network and, moreover, this exhibition has helped Topic fill a small gap we had in our collection: that of European traditional puppets”. Various of them have become part of the museum's holdings, “some by order and acquisition to puppeteers or traditional companies, some others by donation or as presents”.

Topic's director, Idoya Otegui, goes through the list of people and institutions that have teamed up “for us to be able to gather the many characters this display exhibits”. And then mentions a long list: “María José Machado (Museu da Marioneta, Lisbon) and José Gil, from Portugal; Bruno Ghislandi (Fondazione Benedetto Ravasio), Romano Danielli, the Milesi family, the Walter Broggini Company and the Giordano Ferrari Museum, in Italy; Damiet Van Dalsum, Frans Hakkermans and Doomtheatre, in the Netherlands; Christos Stanisis and Juanjo Corrales, in Greece; Ezster Papp and the Henrik Kemeny Foundation, in Hungary; Zahra Sabri, in Iran; Sebastià Vergés, in Barcelona; Luk de Bruyker, in Belgium; Jaroslav Blecha, in the Czech Republic; Raluca Tulbure and Teatru Tandarica, in Romania; Adolfo Ayuso in Zaragoza; the National Museum in Copenhagen...”.

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