Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Western Sensibilities through Anime Object

Or Animé used in Fine Art (Present)

Animé, with
its own very heavy stereotypes and stigmas, is sometimes used as a tool by an artist. It avoids being the content by serving something loftier and more abstract. Its success hinges on assuming what the West recongnizes as "animé-ness" and what its implications are. The use of animé in the art can be mocking, or it can be of reverence to the media.

Pierre Huyghe and Phillipe Parenno's Ann Lee Project is well known for doing this. They purchased a retired animé character cel/design from a Japanese clearinghouse for $428, named her Ann Lee, and used her to create the collaborative exhibition "No Ghost, Just a Shell." Her visage became rendered in a wide variety of mediums, including CG 3D, animation, paintings, prints, posters, wallpapers, a neon light sculpture, and even fireworks. While the subject used was an animé character, and the title even referenced a well-known animé movie, the content has nothing to do with animé.

The work was about ownership and identity. Who was this girl, and what personality were they providing for her? What history? Who owns her? Ann Lee was a character with no name and no story, and now she was at the whims of fourteen artists, bought and used like a labor slave. They questioned the illegality of artistic deviations and modifications. When people are invited to change a character, who has no predetermined personality, to their own liking, is it their personality they're filling it with?

Animé only provided the subject, and people could view the work without any understanding of animé. This is directly opposite of the final kind of a
nimé art, the work that is very much about anime in both subject and content.

(Personally, I was not impressed by the project. I think the premise got a lot of hype, but in the end there was very little good looking work, and the message, while STATED a lot, didn't quite come through for me.)

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