The long and fruitful partnership between the National Museum, the Singapore International Film Festival and the Goethe-Institut has spawned two exhibitions which showcase not just the art of film and video, but also, more importantly, that art should not just be confined to dusty museums but should be something everyone can relate to.
This thought will not be the first to spring to mind with some of the dark pieces on offer at the Animated Films from Germany exhibition. About Germany’s innovative cinematic animation art, a combination of film screenings and exhibition of materials from those films showcase some of the most visually arresting animation to grace these shores. Some of the highlights include Die Gesterbahn (Ghost Train) which is a delightfully grotesque and macabre take on the story of Orpheus venturing into the underworld to find his beloved. How art and animation work can add and inspire each other can be seen in another highlight—Der Rabe (the Raven)—whose expressive graphics provide an interesting visual interpretation of one of the most forlorn poems of all time, “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. What makes these animations so potent, like the best of art, is that they are not (overly) pretentious, but rather, they cut across language barriers and are something which everyone can revel in, be they German or Hokkien (OK, maybe not quite, but you get the idea).
A point which can be seen in the 40 Years of German Video Art exhibition. Consisting of 28 hours of 59 different works spanning four decades from 1963 to 2003, it highlights how media art is not stuck in an editing room bubble, but, rather, is part and parcel of the political and cultural movements of the age. See media art’s experimental nature of the 1960s which perhaps echo the great liberal movement of that age or how the technological development in video and the punk culture of the 1980s influenced German video art.
Do not expect any Disney-eske animations and art here, but, like Disney, this is a must-see for the animation connoisseur or the layman.