The AniMotion Show: Peace – War

Aug 13 2016 | By More

★★☆☆☆  Better in theory

Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64): Wed 3 – Sun 14 Aug 2016
Review by Joe Christie

Boasting plenty of talent but lacking a clear drive, The AniMotion Show is an interesting multimedia experiment in Gilded Balloon at the Museum which gets lost in its own abstractions.

Acclaimed artist Maria Rud returns brush in hand to her Edinburgh stomping ground following an extensive international tour of her one-of-a-kind performance art with left-field producers Aurora Nova.

The AniMotion Show - Photo Douglas Robertson

The AniMotion Show. Photo Douglas Robertson

The focus is firmly on the art more than the performance here. The AniMotion Show sees Rud construct a series of portraits around the dense themes of war and peace, directly inspired by the original music of a live band accompanying her on stage. In essence, a new kind of jam session, charged with the energy of cross-platform collaboration.

The lengthy oration which opens the piece, explaining what the project is trying to achieve, hints at the imbalance between concept and execution which proves the show’s greatest challenge. As artistic experimentation goes, it raises some genuinely fascinating questions about how stories are created and conveyed, about ownership and inspiration, whether all art is ephemeral or at some stage must become fixed.

The problem is that the experience itself offers little in the way of guidance towards answers. Not that it should be obliged to, of course – these are big questions. But the connection between the evolution of the theme, Rud’s painting and the music of flautist Dave Heath and DJ Dolphin Boy is for the most part too obtuse to get a proper grip on. The lack of cohesion makes for an oddly unsatisfying and at times meandering watch.

That being said, the occasional moments where all the artistic elements align do really spark. Suggesting that, with a more rigid structure, this could be something magical. As it stands, the projected paintings from the specially designed light box morph into each other without clear evolution, leaving the audience to pull out a story without being offered sufficient tools to do so from such meaty thematics.

This is not to understate the skill of all the artists involved. Maria Rud, in particular, is a formidable painter: her haunting iconographic tableaux come alive in her beautiful use of colour. It’s near impossible not to relax into her process and lose yourself from time to time. Still, in this incarnation at least, The AniMotion Show is a triumph of mind over matter.

Running time 40 minutes
Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64), Lothian Street, EH1 1HB
Daily: 6pm.
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
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Comments (1)

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  1. Ewan Allinson says:

    Thanks for this review. As the lengthy orator in question, I appreciate the fact that, unlike the reviewer in The Stage, you have underpinned your misgivings with legitimate observations rather than snide asides. Though I disagree with some of your premises, you have given us something to think about, which is where critics can be of genuine help to artists. Cheers.