WRO Art Center
ul. Widok 7, 50-052 Wrocław

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Funded in part by Wrocław Municipality and the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage

Patronage - RenomaWRO: Griffin Art Space


Norman McLaren – Synchromie. Musique Optique

McLaren_Synchromie_WRO (1)

Norman McLaren. Synchromie. Musique optique – Exhibition trailer

Norman McLaren (1914-1987) was for most of his life associated with National Film Board of Canada in Montreal, where he opened the animated film department and studio in 1942. He made over 60 films there, winning close to like 200 international awards, including an Oscar, a Golden Palm and a BAFTA award.

McLaren was a pioneer who introduced various non-camera methods into the cannon of animation techniques, working directly on the film surface. In his early experiments he washed the emulsion and image from recorded film, and then painted and/or scratched images into each frame by hand. He never stopped looking for new visual materials and possibilities, using microscope photography, multiple exposures, slow motion, diagrams and abstract compositions; he merged animations with documentary films; he animated dolls and cut-outs; he experimented with graphic representations of sound.

Seeking to unify the visual and audio levels of his films, McLaren explored the potential of animation for integrating music and image. Synthetic sound tracks that he composed by drawing by hand directly on film tape served as the basis for colorful visual replications of the sound, letting us “see what we hear”. That technique – which McLaren called “animated sound”, is the focus of this exhibition.

The Exhibition Program

Fiddle-de-dee, 1947
Begone Dull Care, 1949
Test A for Synchromy, 1960s
Test B for Synchromy, late 1960s
Synchromy, 1971
Lines: Vertical, 1960
Lines: Horizontal, 1962
Pas de deux, 1968

McLaren’s Negatives, 2006, 10:00 min
directed by Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre

Courtesy of MJSTP Films and VIDÉOGRAPHE. Centre de création, de diffusion et de distribution

Additional Materials in the WRO Media Library

Rythmetic, 1956
Stars and Stripes, 1940
Blinkity Blank, 1955
Dots, 1940
Mosaic, 1965
Short and Suite, 1959
Serenal, 1959



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