Watch Me Move, The Animation Show at The Barbican 15.07.11

Treated Sam the work-experiencer to a gallery day in London. First stop the Barbican for Watch Me Move covering the 150 year history of animation. The show “brings together for the first time, over one hundred films by contemporary artists, cut-out, collage, puppet, clay and stop-motion animators, auteur filmmakers and exponents of experimental film alongside the creative output of the commercial studios. “

The exhibition includes the big names – Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Ardman, Studio Ghibli and Pixar but also less predictable and experimental work. Once again the curation of the show is subtle and inventive – divided into digestible sections: 1.Apparitions; 2.Characters; 3.Superhumans; 4.Fables & Fragments; 5.Structures; 6.Visions. Large screen rooms show continuous loops of popular mainstream cartoons inc. The Jetsons opposite Akira. Another room is given over to a large screen of Jurassic Park’s T-Rex scene with supporting smaller monitors running Gertie The Dinosaur and similar early monster animations. A display of animation objects includes a skeleton warrior model by Ray Harryhausen from Jason & the Argonauts (below) and an allosaurus from One Million Years BC. Also cells from the 1954 British animated (CIA funded) version of Orwell’s Animal Farm. The maezzanine level houses more avant-garde offerings – some examples below.

Neighbours – Norman McLaren, 1952

Oscar winning stop-motion filming with live characters the influence of which can be seen in Talking Heads 1985 video for Road to Nowhere.

Tango – Zbigniew Rybczynski, 1980

A montage of individual figures builds to create a crowded room – as above the style appropriated by REM in their 2001 video for Imitation of Life.

SwanQuake: House – Gibson/Martelli (Igloo), 2007

The London based performing/visual artists create an immersive virtual East End underworld using gaming technology. Brick and floor board printed graphics are applied to the walls of a small room, complete with naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling to create a dark and dingy atmosphere – mirroring the environment that can be explored through a modified dressing table with mirror/screen, illuminated light button controler and tracker ball.

LED Figures – Julian Opie, 2007

Animated figures on LED panels are dotted around the Barbican Centre.

Quick look at architect Junya Ishigami’s subtle installation Architecture As Air at the Curve and finished with an amble round Tate Modern permanent collection.