Oskar Fischinger 1900-1967: Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction
Cindy Keefer and Jaap Guldemond
Oskar Fischinger (1900–1967) steered cinema in an entirely new direction in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. He created a new abstract film language that parallels and interacts with musical qualities such as harmony and dissonance, and was one of the first animators to couple abstract images with music and rhythms, long before the arrival of the music video. Not only was he a true virtuoso in the way he created highly complex patterns that develop dynamic rhythms, harmonies and counterpoints, but he also played an important and influential role in the development of early abstraction in film during the interwar period, amid artistic movements such as Orphism (Kupka, Delaunay), Neo-Plasticism (Mondrian, Van Doesburg), Suprematism (Malevich), and Futurism (Marinetti, Boccioni). In 1926 Fischinger began working with multiple projector cinema performances, creating some of the earliest cinematic immersive environments, precursors to expanded cinema. This comprehensive and richly illustrated monograph on Fischinger explores the positioning of his work within the international avant-garde, his animation, music, painting and interaction with Hollywood, and his influence on today’s filmmakers, artists and musicians. The book contains many hitherto unseen documents, including an essay by Fischinger himself. It also includes a filmography, and biography and a bibliography.