Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Experimental Animation: Oskar Fischinger

Oskar Fischinger was born on June 22 1900, in Gelnhausen, Germany. was an abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter. He made over 50 short animated films, and painted 900 canvases which are in museums, galleries and collections worldwide. Among his film works is Motion Painting No. 1 (1947), which is now listed on the National Film Registry of the U. S. Library of Congress. The original acrylic panels from the film are at the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany.

Search the Center for Visual Music for Oskar Fishinger Information.
Search the Moving Image Collection for Oskar Fischinger Films.
Read Oskar Fischinger's Avant-Garde Animation by Charles Solomon.
Visit the Fischinger Archive.

-Fischinger displayed an early love for music & visual art; an encounter with Walter Ruttman's abstract film Opus I is noted as an early influence.

Lichtspiel - Opus I

-Interested in application of musical "laws" to visual expression.

-Balanced experimental work with commercial work to make ends meet.

-Left Germany for the U.S. in 1936, he fled the Nazis for making "degenerate" art.

-Worked on various studio projects in the 1930's, but because of temperament and language difficulties they didn't go well.

-Stressed his films were "absolute experiences" not representative of other objects or experiences.

-Relied on sponsors & arts patrons to fund much of his work; completed little late in his life.

Notable films:

Wax Experiments (1921-1926)

Kreise aka Circles (1933)

One of the first color films in Germany.

Allegretto (1936-1943)

Radio Dynamics

Motion Painting No. 1 (1947)

Other important ideas and notes on Oskar Fischinger:

-Oskar also worked for Paramount Studios for a time on the production of The Big Broadcast of 1937, although his contribution to the film didn't make the final cut.

-He also worked with Disney on the film Fantasia (1940).

-He was respected by Orson Welles, who attempted to have Oskar participate in several of his films. It's All True, although never fully completed, was released in form of a documentary of the documentary It's All True (1993).

-He didn't have the temperament to work in Hollywood, or the language skills.

-Movement and shapes relating to music is a key feature in his films.

-Oskar felt that the studio system and division of labor kills ideas before they are born.

-He was only interested in making personal films or "absolute films".

-A great resource on Fischinger is The Center for Visual Music.

-Oskar Fischinger died January 31 1967, in Los Angeles, California.

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