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Work of pioneering animator on show

The manipulation of the moving image, and the surprising, playful and avant-garde possibilities that it presents, lies behind two new exhibitions at the University’s Talbot Rice Gallery.

The gallery is hosting Hand-made Cinema, a major retrospective of a pioneering Scottish artist, Normal McLaren, as part of a nationwide series of events to mark the centenary of his birth.

The second exhibition is Pursuit of a Shadow, the largest ever show of artist Jason Dee and features spectacular, theatrical works and subtle visual illusions drawn from classic films.

Hand-made Cinema/Pursuit of a Shadow

Exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday. Admission free.

Saturday 31 May 2014, 10.00am

Saturday 5 July 2014, 5.00pm

Talbot Rice Gallery, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL

Revolutionary animation

McLaren, born in 1914 in Stirling, played with the very materials of filmmaking. He would paint directly on to film, scratch celluloid, and develop electronic musical compositions from black and white cards.

The featured films include Begone Dull Care (1949), made with ink applied to a film-strip and synchronised with Oscar Peterson’s jazz soundtrack, and Synchromy (1971), which used a revolutionary technique whereby the colours and shapes moving on screen created the soundtrack - the viewer literally sees the sound.

Free concert

Alongside the films the exhibition includes McLaren’s sketches used to animate his work, equipment he invented to carry out new ideas, and personal letters he wrote to his parents about his art.

On 7 June, in response to McLaren’s work the Edinburgh Film Music Orchestra will perform a free concert of new works for orchestra and animation. It features the premiere of three new animated films created by Edinburgh College of Art students.

Norman McLaren - Animated Composer

Admission is free

Saturday 7 June 2014, 7.30pm

Saturday 7 June 2014, 9.00pm

Playfair Library Hall, Old College , South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9LY

Theatrical work

In his exhibition Pursuit of a Shadow, Dee also plays with the visual language of cinema.

The largest scale installation features 24 monitors in a circle showing the same series of clips of flash photography from such films as Gremlins, Raging Bull and the Shawshank Redemption. Each monitor is set one frame behind the one beside it, so when the flash goes off a wave of light erupts around the circle.

Other works involve projecting clips from films onto sculptural objects, including Buster Keaton hanging over a waterfall, which is imposed upon a drooping cut out section of a screen, and a female character eternally trying to crawl up the side of a bowl.