One of the early ideas for Sully (Monsters Inc.)

Last Chance To See: 25 years of Pixar at MOCA Shanghai (August 1-Oct 30 2011)

Early Renditions of Sully and Boo (Monsters Inc.)

Pixar studios, famous for bringing us the world’s first fully digitally animated feature film, celebrates 25 years of animation with a retrospective exhibition of its studio artworks. The show has already won acclaim in 8 countries worldwide and it’s well worth the hefty 70-100 RMB price tag. This weekend is your last chance to see the Shanghai leg at MOCA. While the highlight is clearly the 3D zoetrope (look it up) featuring characters from Toy Story 2 in a dizzying strobe-lit carousel of live animation (epileptics, those of a nervous disposition, and anyone with a hangover-you have been warned!) there are a lot of other good bits too. Arranged in groups according to film, exhibits include storyboards, models, digital renderings and original drawings, representing each phase in the development of an Acadamy-Award winning animated film. The character design sections are amazing, and it’s odd to imagine what your favourite films would have been like if the final decisions had been different at this stage. Also fascinating are pages of notes and illustrations focusing on tiny details like the movement of a shark’s gills or the way a shrimp’s eyes move when he’s scared.     It’s great to see that the illustrators are directly represented-many of the original drawings were credited directly to the artist (Simon Vladimir Varela’s scenography charcoals for Finding Nemo are mind-blowing) and that personal styles are very much in evidence during the early storyboard phases.

Bruce (Finding Nemo)

3D models for Sully (Monsters Inc.)

If you’re a fan of the movies, the exhibition manages to be interesting both artistically and practically, and the skill and imagination of the Pixar team is truly incredible. Miss it, miss out.   Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, People’s Park, 231 Nanjing West Road.  Daily 10am-9.30 pm (last admission 8.30 pm) 70 RMB weekdays/100 RMB weekends
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