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The Guillermo del Toro Exhibit Lets You Inside a Magical Mind

LACMA presents the first-ever Guillermo del Toro museum retrospective, an experience all its own.

by Diana Shi
01 August 2016, 11:35am

Guillermo del Toro with his life-size sculpture of Sammael from the movie Hellboy at Bleak House. Photo courtesy Insight Editions. All images courtesy LACMA

The wellspring of imagination turning about in Guillermo del Toro’s head is realized in the halls of his creative enclave and Los Angeles home, the colloquially called Bleak House. The renowned director resides at the sprawling, Haunted Mansion-like structure, developing his ideas that someday may turn into a primal horror movie (Hellboy) or an otherworldly surrealist fable (Pan’s Labyrinth). Now, del Toro’s creative process—or the closest thing his fans may get to it—is on view at LACMA. The exhibit, titled Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, is the director’s first museum retrospective.

Portrait of Guillermo del Toro at Bleak House. Photo © Josh White/ JWPictures.com

In essence, the comprehensive presentation is a dive into one of contemporary film’s most marvelous minds. The exhibit showcases personal photographs from inside the director’s private space, where he spends his time dreaming up story dynamics, character development, and enthralling visuals of his films. Some of the installations in the exhibit, like life-sized figurines of his fictional characters, are borrowed from the Bleak House. It boasts a plethora of different forms of medium, from two-dimensional illustrations, photography, and notebook sketchings, to larger-scale collections of books, costumes, film objects, and ancient artifacts.

Guillermo del Toro at work on his current notebook in the Comic Book Library at Bleak House. Photo courtesy Insight Editions. 

At Home with Monsters is organized into eight thematic sections, among them “Childhood and Innocence,” “Victoriana,” “Movies, Comics, Pop Culture,” “Frankenstein and Horror,” “Freaks and Monsters,” and “Death and Afterlife.” It's a sweeping look at the monumental rise of the man who uplifted the film world into a realm of fantasy, causing many a moviegoer to ask, “How can I get an imagination like that?” See for yourself in the selection of images below:

Guillermo del Toro' Bleak House. Photo © Josh White/ JWPictures.com

Guillermo del Toro' Bleak House. Photo © Josh White/ JWPictures.com

Guillermo del Toro, Page from Notebook 2, Leather-bound notebook, ink on paper, 8 x 10 x1 1/2 in., Collection of Guillermo del Toro. © Guillermo del Toro. Photo courtesy Insight Editions

Guillermo del Toro, Page from Notebook 2, Leather-bound notebook, ink on paper, 8 x 10 x1 1/2 in., Collection of Guillermo del Toro. © Guillermo del Toro. Photo courtesy Insight Editions

Film Still from Hellboy II: The Golden Army, 2008

Guillermo del Toro, Page from Notebook 4, Leather-bound notebook, ink on paper, 8 x 10 x1 1/2 in., Collection of Guillermo del Toro. © Guillermo del Toro. Photo courtesy Insight Editions

Guillermo del Toro, Page from Notebook 3, Leather-bound notebook, ink on paper, 8 x 10 x1 1/2 in., Collection of Guillermo del Toro. © Guillermo del Toro. Photo courtesy Insight Editions

Find the massive, 500-object show at LACMA from August 1–November 27, 2016. Learn more about Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters here.

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Tagged:
Film
cinema
filmmaking
Directors
screenwriting
Guillermo del Toro
Cronos
Retrospective
Hellboy
film history
lacma
At Home with Monsters
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Devil’s Backbone