Everyone has a favourite Disney animated movie – and now you’ll get an up-close behind-the-scenes look with Disney: Magic of Animation, opening at the ArtScience Museum on 26 October 2019. (It closes 29 March 2020.)
The exhibition will give you an in-depth look at 90 years of Disney animation past, present, and yes – future: One of highlights will be the debut of original artwork from the upcoming Frozen 2.
Coming to Southeast Asia for the first time, the exhibition features more than 500 art pieces, including original drawings, paintings, sketches and concept art curated by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library. And since this is the ArtScience Museum, there will also be interactive elements, including projections, audio-visual displays, exhibits and hands-on educational activities that transport you into the world of Disney’s films.
On top of Frozen 2, you’ll get to see exhibits involving Steamboat Willie (1928), the first Disney cartoon with a synchronised soundtrack. There will also be classic films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and The Lion King (1994), and blockbusters such as Frozen (2013), Zootopia (2016) and Moana (2016).
The Disney: Magic of Animation Experience
The exhibition contains five galleries, starting with “Creating Believable Characters: Bringing Drawings to Life” which reveals how early Disney animators pioneered new animation techniques. You will see beloved characters start as two-dimensional illustrations, and learn the ways that animators used innovative techniques to portray movements naturally.
The first gallery features original story sketches and animation drawings from some of the earliest Disney films. You’ll also see a physical recreation of the iconic steamboat from Steamboat Willie (1928), the first Disney cartoon to have sound synchronised with the animation on screen.
Gallery two is: “The Magic Begins: Continual Research and Development”, which tells the story of how Disney – through bold innovations – advanced the animation form. Starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the world’s first fully animated film produced in Technicolor, artists from Disney Studios’ began developing a number of remarkable films including Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942).
The third gallery, “Producers of Magic: Creating Diversity in Expression and a Wider World” celebrates the talented Disney animators who produced films that expressed a brilliant variety of artistic styles. Background paintings and concept art from films including Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) showcase the talents of artists who created diverse visual worlds. This chapter also charts the scientific advances that Disney have become known for, highlighting some of the new production technologies developed by the studio, enabled by advances in global communications in the 1940s to 1950s.
“Towards New Dimensions: Digital Advances, Musical Seas” is the name of the fourth gallery. Considered by some to be Disney’s golden age of animation (and for most of us what we grew up watching), this chapter showcases artworks from The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998) and Tarzan (1999) and their memorable soundtracks.
And with the introduction of computer graphics comes the fifth gallery: “Bringing People Together: Social Diversity, Messages for Our Global Future”. Starring recent animated titles, such as Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014) and Moana (2016), the final section tells of how Disney conveys impactful messages that build on social values, such as the importance of family bonds, cultural diversity and respect for nature.
“A truly unique 20th century art form”
“Animation is an art form that literally brings still, static images to life,” said Mary Walsh, Managing Director of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library. “Whether it is a series of appealing line drawings, shot in sequential order to create a believable character, or complex digital imagery rendered to create a magical effect, animation has the power to transport the viewer into a world of imagination and beauty.”
“The filmmakers and storytellers at Walt Disney Animation Studios have been creating, producing and pushing the boundaries of this medium for almost 100 years,” she added. “We are thrilled to share this exhibition, Disney: Magic of Animation, with the people of Singapore and hope that the passion, creativity and artistry showcased in this exhibit will instill in the viewer a greater appreciation for what we believe is a truly unique 20th century art form.”
“This exhibition explores both the art and the science of animation – a filmmaking technique which Disney have pioneered and perfected for almost a century,” said Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum.
“The show reveals the technologies and scientific innovations that revolutionised filmmaking throughout the 20th century. At the same time, the exhibition tells the story of the artists who have been involved in creating the magical worlds and iconic characters that we have grown to love,” she added. “Featuring hundreds of priceless historical artefacts plus an exciting selection of never-seen-before artworks from contemporary films, this show is a timeless blend of the past and the present, that instantly captures the imagination.”
Tickets for Disney: Magic of Animation go on sale 1 October 2019 starting from S$16 for adults and S$12 for students. There’s also a family package for 2 adults and 2 children at S$45 (S$54 for non-Singapore residents).
TLDR: Disney: Magic of Animation will run from 26 October 2019 till 29 March 2020 at the ArtScience Museum. Tickets go on sale 1 October 2019.