watch me move – the animation show at the barbican

9 September 2011 § 1 Comment

Just a quick last-minute post to act as a reminder. Anyone who has not yet been to the Barbican for their latest exhibition should get down there sharpish. Closing on Sunday The Animation Show tells the story of animation and demonstrates key themes over time and around the world. It is the perfect place to spend a few hours on a dull or rainy day – which is I might point out is precisely the forecast for the coming weekend – sorry to break the news if you had not yet realised!

Just like the Surrealist Rooms exhibition last year this is beautifully and imaginatively curated. Downstairs wispy grey curtains conceal a carefully planned maze of rooms showing a variety of largely short animations. Upstairs the variety of permanent spaces are put to clever use with sofa – sized pods housing their own sound system allowing a number of projections in close proximity – you may find Starewicz’s Tale of the Fox and Jiri Trnka’s The Hand alongside Snow White for example.

You will find examples of the very earliest animations through to Anime, Svankmaer and the latest in Pixar or art-house films, via all sorts of imaginative offerings from around the world. The exhibition is structured in to themes such as ‘Apparitions’, ‘Characters’, ‘Fables & Fragments’ and ‘Visions’ – a system that works well and allows offerings of all types and eras to be placed together in comparison and contrast.

I expected clips and segments, but in most cases the entire work – two minutes to an hour – are shown in loops whilst. Dip in as you wish or watch the whole thing – I did the latter far too often and regretted not planning a few more hours. A screening room meanwhile shows full movies on a timed programme. My favourite offering was the Brothers Quay film In Absentia (2000) in which animation and live-action are combined to a Stockhausen score – the mere sharpening of a pencil is turned in to a dark and disturbing vision with overtones of Eraserhead and The Shining – amazing. Watch it (legally) here.

Highly recommended but do not even dream of trying to do this show in less than two hours – at least half a day would be ideal.

Watch me Move at The Barbican until 11 September 2011.

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