In Brief

Giorgio de Chirico’s Eerie Cityscapes, Scored and Animated

Animated GIF of Julien Herman's tribute to Giorgio De Chirico (GIF by the author for Hyperallergic)
Animated GIF of Julien Herman’s tribute to Giorgio De Chirico (GIF by the author for Hyperallergic)

Tune out from your surroundings courtesy of a strange but poetic video that stitches together 10 paintings by Giorgio de Chirico and introduces subtle animated details to each one. As a tribute to the Italian Surrealist, the French video editor Julien Herman has created a meditative short complete with sound components befitting de Chirico’s desolate scenes. Among the works included are “The Enigma of the Hour” (1911), “The Red Tower” (1913),” “The Melancholy of Departure” (1914), and the dizzying “The Double Dream of Spring” (1915).

Animated reworks of famous works of art history are always popping up (see: fun updates of ancient ukiyo-e, Magritte in motion, James Kerr’s Renaissance remixes, the trailer for the forthcoming film Loving Vincent, and this series of truly wacky edits), but Herman’s stands out particularly for its measured pace. Rather than presenting flashy or humorous new takes, he presents quiet, slow pans of paintings accompanied by partial movements of their subjects, backed by immersive, ambient sounds.

Droning music sets an ominous tone, with the swish of falling water, ticking of a clock, calling of birds, and soft whistle of a train in the distance bringing the scenes to life. Yet, slight animations like flags rippling in the wind and trees waving gently highlight their emptiness — a markedly different strategy for conveying their surreality from Carlos Monteiro’s de Chirico computer game. In a segment featuring “The Red Tower,” the shadow of a huge equestrian sculpture takes its time to stretch across the frame. It’s one of a number of details that suggest an unsettling passing of time, making de Chirico’s static works more otherworldly.

h/t Creative Boom

comments (0)