Animamix - A Trend or a Brand?

Angelo Volpe: 'He kept silent', 2009, oil on canvas 100 x 70 x 2 cm, (c) by the artist

This January the second Animamix Biennial 2009/2010 in China and Taiwan ended. The term ‘Animamix’ derives from a combination of animation and comics.


The multi-center show was hosted by 4 different museums:


  • Today’s Art Museum in Beijing
  • Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai
  • Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei
  • Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou
Opening of 2nd Animamix Biennial at Today's Art Museum in Beijing (c) museum

Ms. Viktoria Lu is the artistic director of this biennial. She coined the term ‘Animamix’ for this trend in 2007 when she set up the first Animamix Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.


She defines these four major characteristics for her Animamix movement:


  • Art deriving from popular culture worshipping youth and the pursuit of an idealized youthful beauty.
  • The images have a strong narrative character, often of bizarre and ever-changing content.
  • Bright colors and light deriving from electronic media.
  • It is an interaction of different sectors: animation, comics, video games, …
Patrick Bergeron: 'Loop Loop Tète' video (c) by the artist

The artist Patrick Bergeron worked a few years at the National Film Board of Canada into the animation departments, then for the digital fx industry ( The Matrix, Lord of the rings, ...). For his project 'LoopLoop', he used the techniques learned in the special fx industry and applied it to his art video which is a complex hybrid project, mixing experimental animation with documentary film.


The Internationally renowned Japanese artists Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara are also in the show. The curators claim them for the Animamix trend.


It is clear that technical advances in video games or animated film making have a strong effect on our everyday life and, thus, also on visual art: The computer game industry is already bigger in turnover than Hollywood. Video game studios like Quantic Dream try to move away from stupid shooter games towards telling an interactive story.


In the biennial I liked for instants the funny animated short film ‘VAMPZ’ of 2005 by the artists Adrien Barbier-Lambert, Lam Le Thanh, Adrien Annesley and Tamara Demicheli.


Video games and the like developed their own aesthetics. On one hand this is due to technical reasons and on the other hand to the ideas of its often very young creators.


Roy Lichtenstein introduced comics, Andy Warhol brand items into fine art and called it Pop art. Animamix artists introduce their videogame aesthetics into fine art. This can lead to interesting results - if they express something new and important about the world within the field of visual art.


Italian Animamix artist Angelo Volpe told me, ‘I believe that Animamix is an evolution of Pop Art, because it turns own attention to the objects, to the myths and the languages of the society of the consumptions. But in comparison to Pop Art the movement Animamix has a greater anarchic and provocative position.’


Alexandre Nicolas: 'Batfoetus', 2008, synthetic cristal/mixed media, 31x21x21 cm (c) by the artist; photo by Regis Mortier

Taiwan based Venice Biennial 2009 artist Cheng-Ta Yu is skeptical after seeing the exhibition at MoCA Taipei, ‘This kind of Animamix trend in Taiwan has been continued for 2 or 3 years now. It's weird for me, because this kind of idea is not from China and Taiwan and has not any relations with its culture. After seeing the show in Taipei, I even can’t get the basic idea of Animamix, not to mention a precise show.’


Victoria Lu at the opening of MoCA Taipei (c) the museum

Curator Victoria Lu speaks very enthusiastic about her trend, ‘Unlike the Pop artists of the previous century who simply appropriated visual symbols from comics and animation, the Animamix artists of the twenty-first century are part of a new generation that is already completely immersed in the aesthetics of Animamix. The multifarious styles of Animamix art actually can be seen as the very archetype of artistic creation. In other words, Animamix art has become the most important source of inspiration for the global art scene in the twenty-first century.’


Time will show how relevant this Asian born trend or brand will be in the future.



by U.G.


Ai Weiwei: 'So Sorry'show in Munich (c) photo by Premier Art Scene


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