Ronny Van De Velde
Starting in the 17th century, the visual element acquires an ever-greater role in the performing arts.The feasts and ballets of the French court set the tone with lavish offerings of magical metamorphoses. Decorators bring movement to the fore, doingaway with the symmetrical, frontal perspective, and they develop machines for quick changes of scenery
and the appearance/disappearance of actors and accessories. The decorator supplants the author; sound and light, décor and gimmick gain the upper hand. Un autre monde – Grandville’s best-known book and for which this drawing was made – testifies to the enormous power of attraction exercised by theatre on the public at that time. Theatre in the
19th century was the most popular form of diversion, like movies were to become in the 1950s and ‘60s, and with a comparable influence on all aspects of social life. From its very first pages, Un autre monde numbers countless references to theatre or related forms of amusement, in its décors and assemblages of protagonists, in their stances and expressions, in the one deus ex machina after the other. – A persistent, uncomically intended anachronism in the literature concerning Grandville, presents him as a pioneer of dream analysis who delved into the deepest layers of the subconscious mind.