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Robert Breer: Single-frame Aesthetics and Inherited Modernisms in Relation to the Neo-avant-garde and Debates on Film Animation

Bridge, Sonia; (2017) Robert Breer: Single-frame Aesthetics and Inherited Modernisms in Relation to the Neo-avant-garde and Debates on Film Animation. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Breer’s cross-disciplinary process and self-reflexive exploration of the single-frame within film presents an intensive questioning of representation, movement, and the hierarchies of form that taps into the debates of mid twentieth-century art. Having an approach that is unparalleled within the discipline of animation, Breer’s work constellates the renewed interest in the avant-garde from absolute abstraction to collage, along with abstract expressionism. Involving the use of non-art materials and technology in an endeavor to refigure the status of the everyday, Breer’s work also participates in the wide-ranging transformation of art, beyond traditional mediums and more fundamentally raises questions about the technical mediation of experience. The refusal in Breer’s practice of the imaginary of conventional cinema and commercial studio animation is underscored by the recourse in his work to the ‘low arts’ of early popular animation and precinematic devices which lay bare the underlying mechanics of film in a manner that nevertheless celebrates the appeal of its pleasures. Despite shared engagements with the neo-avant-garde, Breer’s cinematic assemblages presented a challenge to postwar plurality, and its recognizability was hindered by the marked novelty and art-institutional marginalization of animation-film then prevalent. The conceptual valence of Breer’s work, which questions its status as art, reflects upon its complex and contradictory historicity, and mediates between the principles of form and the so-called failure of craft, gains a renewed relevance today beyond the revival of retro-modernism, and in an era in which the technique of animation has become ubiquitous. This thesis sets out to recover the witty deflationary tactics and criticality of the aesthetic questions raised by Breer’s animated films. The practice component revolves around the materiality and analogue confluence of the digital moving-image; three short animated-sketches present inscriptions of everydayness and ephemerality as part of a recursively obsolescent gaze upon its single-frame image-objects.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Robert Breer: Single-frame Aesthetics and Inherited Modernisms in Relation to the Neo-avant-garde and Debates on Film Animation
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10024629
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