Abstract Assignment: Oskar Fischinger

Abstract visual art was Oskar Fischinger’s forte. Oskar Fischinger was born on June 22, 1900 and died on January 31, 1967. His animations gained notoriety through out his life as he combined his love for music and graphic arts into one. Fischinger worked in various studios but, ultimately, his working style didn’t belong in a studio.

At first, Oskar Fischinger wanted to do something with music and while studying he accepted various apprenticeships for architecture, engineering and tool design. What changed Fischinger’s mind was the film Light-Play Opus No.1 by Walther Ruttman; Fischinger then chose a career as a filmmaker where he combined music and art. In 1921 Fischinger created Wax Experiments, four hand drawn abstract films. In 1923 he had a screening in Munich Germany, which was his first while his second screening took place in 1925 at Dusseldorf. Next, Fischinger moved to Berlin where from 1925 to 1927 he produced a multiple-projector exhibit: R-1, A Form Play. In 1929 Fischinger created special effects for Women in the Moon- rockets, stars capes and planet surfaces.

When in 1930 sound was introduced in movies Fischinger combined synchronized music and abstract film to create his own style of cartoons; Studie No. 7 and Studie No. 8 are examples. Around this time he helped create the Gaspar Color process. Fischinger was then able to create some of his most astonishing work- Circles in 1933 and Komposition in Blau in 1935. In 1936 Oskar Fischinger left his home country and came to the United States to work in Paramount Pictures. Originally he was to create a sequence for The Big Broadcast in 1937 called Algretto but he didn’t agree with what Paramount wanted and bought back the rights to his own work. For a brief time after that Fischinger worked for MGM in 1937, creating Optical Poem. After MGM, Oskar attempted to work for Disney. There he worked with Disney on Fantasia but when they tried to change his design for the ‘Toccata’ and ‘Fugue’ sequences he quit. For a little while after Disney, Fischinger produced some films for the Guggenheim Foundation; he made An American March in 1941. Fischinger created a few other films before retiring from film in order to devote himself to painting. Three last pieces of his work were Motion Painting No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Motion Painting No. 1 won the Grand Pix at the International Experimental Film Competition in 1949.

Oskar Fischinger used many shapes in his abstract films. Random shapes might fade in and out, change color size and sometimes would go around each other as in An Optical Poem. Oskar used many shapes hung on invisible wire to create this effect instead of the use of a multi plane. He often used the Gaspar Color process in his work that involved color. In films such as Studie no. 8 the background is black while the shapes come in and out with the music in white.

In my attempt to create something based on Oskar Fischinger’s style I mainly looked at An Optical Poem because of the colors and shapes in it and his abstract color studies. At times his shapes would repeat a motion or the foreground would create a frame around the shapes moving in the back- I attempted this in a way. There a two or three shapes that quickly repeat their motions in my animation and I used ovals and round edged rectangles as a frame for two scenes in my short. My animation moves far too fast in comparison to Fischinger’s and is not set to music but I made an attempt to create the effects he did by hand drawing (something he did not do).

Oskar Fischinger’s style of animation is unique and was notable at the time he created it. Today it is still looked at with appreciation.

Works Cited:

Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television’s Award-winning and Legendary Animators. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema, 2006. Print.

     Morris, Garry. “Bright Lights Film Journal :: Oscar Fischinger’s Visual Music.” BLFJ Blog. N.p., Sept. 1998. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.

Solomon, Charles. “Oskar Fischinger’s Avant-Garde Animation.” NPR. NPR, 6 Sept. 2006. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.


Studie No 8 excerpt. : https://vimeo.com/35735682

An Optical Poem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=they7m6YePo

Circles excerpt: https://vimeo.com/55181698

Wax Experiments excerpt: https://vimeo.com/54587174

Studie No. 5 excerpt: https://vimeo.com/63950884

This entry was posted in Time-Based and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s