Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967)
From December 16th 2012 through March 17th 2013, EYE in collaboration with the Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles presented a major exhibition on the work of Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), a pioneer of the animation film and abstract cinema. This German-American avant-garde filmmaker made short films that were highly influential in the development of the animation film and that remain a source of inspiration for the makers of music videos and computer graphics. The exhibition Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967): Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction also focused on his earliest experiments and inventions and was accompanied by an extensive film program.
Oskar Fischinger was also inventor of all sorts of ingenious cinematic devices, such as the wax-slicing machine and other special effects. He was one of the first animators to couple abstract images with music and rhythms, long before the arrival of the music video. The eye-catching animations by the “Wizard of Friedrichstrasse,” as he was known, also attracted the attention of directors, such as Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch, the latter of whom invited him to Hollywood.
The exhibition showed many of Fischinger’s films and some original, never previously displayed animation drawings. Fischinger used these drawings to shoot his films frame for frame, supplemented by paintings, notated music scores and documents.
The exhibition also included rarely shown fragments of Fischinger’s experiments from the nineteen twenties and thirties, which have been restored
John Canemaker, New York Times: "Decades before computer graphics, before music videos, even before "Fantasia" (the 1940 version), there were the abstract animated films of Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), master of "absolute" or nonobjective filmmaking. He was cinema's Kandinsky, an animator who, beginning in the 1920's in Germany, created exquisite "visual music" using geometric patterns and shapes choreographed tightly to classical music and jazz."
Variety called his films "Masterworks of pure non-figurative, cinematic expression."
The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive and richly illustrated monograph on Fischinger. It is the first major retrospective work in which attention is paid to the position of his work within the international avant-garde, to animation, music, painting, to Hollywood and his influence on today’s filmmakers, artists and animators.
Furthermore, the book contains documents never previously published, such as correspondence with other artists, filmmakers and musicians, essays by Fischinger himself and it also includes a filmography, bio- and bibliography. €29,95. The publication is co-edited by Cindy Keefer and Jaap Guldemond.
films, talks, events
For the duration of the exhibition, EYE organized a rich accompanying program of films and activities in the auditoria. Furthermore, EYE presented a game installation in reference to the exhibition in which geometric figures play the leading role.
The exhibition is co-curated by EYE’s Director of Exhibitions Jaap Guldemond and Cindy Keefer of the Center for Visual Music. It is co-organized by EYE and Center for Visual Music.