Photos: The Magic of Aardman Exhibit Opens in Melbourne

Aardman Co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton
Aardman Co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has opened a cracking new exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of the world’s most successful animation studios, Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman. Tickets are available now for this special exhibit, which runs through October 29, 2017. The show is part of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series.

“The magic of the Aardman studios lies not only in their exceptional skill, but in their ability to create so many characters that people of all ages love – funny, warm, playful, egotistical, generous and occasionally evil,” said ACMI CEO & Director Katrina Sedgwick.

“This exhibition showcases the incredible technical processes of this multi award-winning claymation studio, illuminating their inventiveness and astonishing eye for detail, and enabling us to see the evolution of the many characters that have become beloved by us all. In these crazy times, Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman will delight our audiences and remind us that there’s a little bit of the heroic dog or chicken or sheep in all of us!”

The Magic of Aardman reflects the quirky humor and charm of the Bristol, UK-based stop-motion specialists — taking visitors behind-the scenes with sketchbooks, concept and production art. The exhibition features more than 350 objects, including original artwork, 50-plus set pieces (including Wallace’s contraptions and Gromit’s beloved vegetable garden), Shaun the Sheep sets, the Chicken Run flying machine, and the spectacular 5-meter-tall ship from The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Exclusive to the ACMI run are additional pieces from Aardman’s next feature film, Early Man (2018).

Young visitors can also enjoy a kids’ activity space, The Studio, where they can build their own clay character and a make a short stop-motion animation, inspired by Aardman artistry!

Throughout the exhibition, ACMI Cinemas will screen Aardman’s feature films and other works. Australian talent will also be highlighted with a visit from Oscar-winning animator Adam Elliot (Mary & Max, Harvie Krumpet), who will take audiences on a journey through national achievement in “Adam Elliot presents Australian Indie Animations” on July 15.

The Magic of Aardman was curated by Art Ludique-Le Musée, Paris, in close collaboration with Aardman’s Bristol headquarter. Studio co-founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord came to Australia for the opening, to appear at a talk and retrospective “A Night Out with Aardman” and present a masterclass for emerging creatives. Lord also hosted a sold-out workshop demonstrating how to create iconic character Morph. And Sproxton was joined by Wallace & Gromit to meet visitors at Family Sundays: Stop! Motion Animation.

“As Aardman celebrates its first 40 years, we thought it only right that we should mark the occasion with an exhibition celebrating the work of the many artists and craftspeople that have contributed to the studio and its films over the decades,” said Sproxton, Aardman’s co-Founder and Executive Chairman. “It has been a wonderful exhibition to put together, enabling us to dig deep into our archives and pull out work that only a few people have ever seen. The exhibition demonstrates not only the amount of work it takes to get to a finished film, but also the imagination and skill of the large number of artists the studio depends on. We are very excited that the exhibition is opening in Australia, exclusively at ACMI, and we hope it is enjoyed by a great many people.”

  • Dawn Brown

    Does anyone know if this Aardman exhibit will be coming to Los Angeles?