del Toro

Scary movies scare me, so I avoid them at all costs. My interest was peaked, however, when I heard about the Guillermo del Toro exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. A film director, del Toro is known for reimagining what horror, science fiction and fantasy look like in movies. I am fascinated by fairy tales, the supernatural and anything steampunk, so this exhibit looked right up my alley. Plus, I absolutely love learning about artists and their inspiration and the processes behind their work.

At the recommendation of a friend and co-worker, I watched “Crimson Peak” (she watched it with me, because I was too nervous to watch it on my own).

I fell in love. The movie was no scarier than Harry Potter; the worst part was things jumping out unexpectedly. I not-so-patiently waited to make my way up to the Cities for the exhibit to surround myself with the work of this filmmaker. 

Last Saturday afternoon, the exhibit was packed. Friends, partners, parents and children; all kinds of people came to get inside the mind of del Toro. And it’s understandable—his films wrestle with questions everyone faces, from fear of the unknown to fear of the other to fear of death.

Organized by theme, the exhibit was meant to mimic Bleak House in Los Angeles, where del Toro keeps his collections and inspirations. The home in real life is full of original artwork, toys, wax figures, books, statues, busts, comics, movie props and more. The installation at MIA mimics the home, and offers a small glimpse into del Toro’s mind.

The exhibit was thrilling. It features costumes and props from movies of del Toro’s (including “Crimson Peak,” “Hellboy,” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” among others), pieces of art that served and continue to serve as inspiration, del Toro’s sketches for movie scenes, and some of his journals. Themes of the rooms range from Magic, Alchemy and the Occult to Victorian England, to  Childhood and Innocence. 

Each room features a television with curated scenes of del Toro’s films that correspond with the room’s theme. It is powerful to be able to see themes running through various films of his, showing his true obsessions.

It was inspiring, being completely engulfed in the world of an artist. Del Toro invites museum-goers into the world to get a glimpse of what makes him tick, to bask in the beauty of his imagination.

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