Defining where animation ends and where it begins starts with the trickiness in defining what is “animated” and what is not. Is the “illusion” of movement all it takes? Or are there more subtle rules at play? Or is there simply a way to make everything animate itself depending on how you see it? Time-lapses of paintings have a fascinating animated quality as the drawing’s process makes it comes to life, layered over time. In the same way, adding and subtracting becomes movement.
This idea of process and change is at the heart of Jake Fried’s work. His animation is defined by his beginnings as a painter seeking a way to record a painstaking process in constructing his works, before realizing that the evolution itself was the artwork. He uses ink and white correction liquid among other materials to let his work animate itself through constant, breathless changes, never suggesting movement but letting the collage of patterns and fantasies create it anyway in our mind.
The excruciating detail is barely admired before it is already lost into layering, adding and taking away as the accumulation of details creates the animation rather than any distinct element. His work is face-paced and feverish, playing with chaos and melancholy as well as paradoxes and surrealism. Dürer and Escher come to mind in terms of greyscale and precise layering, accompanied by a certain sense of claustrophobia. Even Jacques Villeglé’s work, creating new meanings and narratives by lacerating advertising posters, seems to resonate with this work. A new kind of engraving or collage that is paradoxically both immobile and in motion emerges in Fried’s work, one white-out line at a time.