Friday, 24 June 2011

FAD Preview: Watch Me Move at Barbican Art Gallery

(Originally published on FAD)

Be prepared to set aside a sizeable chunk of your life for Watch Me Move, because for their summer blockbuster the Barbican Art Gallery have assembled the biggest ever exhibition on the history and influence of animation, and once there its hard to tear yourself away from these colourful, dynamic, sparkling moving images.

So diverse and comprehensive is the show’s coverage of animation, from makers including the Lumiere Brothers, through Disney, Pixar, Tezuka, Semiconductor, Lotte Reiniger, Ari Folman, Roy Harryhausen and Christian Boltanski using stop motion, claymation, puppets, drawing, CGI… that this review is in danger of turning into a list.

So instead of reiterating how great these great names of animation are (as indeed the lesser known names who appear here), it’s suffice to say that to have them all available to view is a great thing, but to have them choreographed over seven carefully themed sections is sublime.

Structured to cover the early development, later technologies, character development, narrative ticks and experimentation in animation, as well as the gamut of themes and concerns within these films from through time and around the world, Watch Me Move is so comprehensive it’s impossible to take it all in during one sitting. But it’s worth a try. There’s something intrinsically magical about animation that captures us from an early age and Watch Me Move shows how mesmerizing it can be at any age.

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