Interview – Jean-Jacques Launier, Founder and President of Art Ludique – Le Musée.

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From November 16, 2013 to March 2, 2014, the much talked-about “25 Years of Pixar Animation” exhibition will be presented in Paris. We were fortunate enough to be able to interview Jean-Jacques Launier, Founder and President of ART LUDIQUE – Le Musée.

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Art Ludique (literally “Recreational Art”) is the highly original name you have given your museum that focuses on the cinema industry, manga… You offer a new approach given the fact that Art remains for many people a field that only appeals to the initiated. How did this idea come about?
I, myself, draw. I studied art and then became an art director. Among other things, I designed many film posters. I was always surprised there was not one museum in the whole wide world given over to entertainment artists, one that brought together comics, animation, manga, video games, production drawings for films, whereas the works of those artists who design these worlds have a strong impact on our imagination, as well as on the culture our century is steeped in. These representational narrative artists are the natural descendants of major illustrators such as Gustave Doré, Honoré Daumier, Windsor McCay, and so many others who illustrated and made cartoons for the first newspapers that were ever printed.
Art Ludique is the first museum in the world ever to be given over to contemporary art that has its roots in the entertainment industry. I really feel quite proud that Paris is the first city to welcome such a museum. And I happen to think this art will draw in a wide, cross-generational audience.

Your museum is opening with the “Pixar: 25 Years of Animation” exhibition which was first presented at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York. Why did you choose Pixar as your inaugural theme?

The “Pixar: 25 Years of Animation” exhibition is the perfect illustration of this Contemporary Art dimension I was mentioning. It enables us to show the public that behind the films that fire our imaginations are some fabulous artists who draw, paint or sculpt, and who all come together to bring a great work into existence.

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What will visitors be able to see throughout this exhibition?

There are over 500 works on display. They range from very moving pencil sketches through which you discover how some of our favourite characters came into being, to magnificent paintings which were made as part of research for a film’s atmosphere and scenery, to storyboards, collages, gouache paintings, sculptures and the digital prints based on the artists’ concept drawings. It is all very impressive and spectacular.
Two genuine, Pixar-designed “experiences” also enable visitors to immerse themselves even further into the magic of animation.
– The “Artscape”, an impressive audiovisual installation, is shown on a panoramic screen that immerses the viewer into the world of Pixar. This immersive piece features many creations which have been made thanks to traditional techniques studio artists have employed. By simulating 3D motion thanks to new technologies, this installation symbolizes, through its layout, the strong connection there is between traditional techniques and digital art, while offering viewers an unforgettable experience.
– The zootrope is an optical toy which received its patent in 1867 in the United States. This spinning device enabled the illusion of motion to be created before film was even invented, thanks to the swift rotation of a sequence of static images inside a cylinder. Inspired by the one the Ghibli Museum created in Mitaka (Japan), the Pixar team designed the Toy Story Zootrope, a 3D zootrope which animates figures depicting popular characters from the studio’s first feature-length film. Visitors are invited to discover the basic principles of animation in an entertaining way thanks to this installation.

 

The animation industry is popular but some people have trouble regarding it as an art form. Do you consider Pixar to be offering entertainment? Art? Recreational art?
Most artistic movements often struggled before achieving recognition. This was also the case for photography, while the comic book industry is only slowly establishing its pedigree. The animation industry that enables artists to use new technologies – as in the video game industry – includes legendary creators, such as Walt Disney obviously, Paul Grimaud or Tesuka, whose influence and major artistic measure is never questioned. The fact that MoMa – the most prestigious modern art museum in the world – hosted the Pixar exhibition does show that recognition is imminent. The Miyazaki/Moebius exhibition we hosted in Paris in 2005 also lends weight to this idea.
In the future, what do you plan to offer visitors in your museum?

The museum will offer large-scale temporary exhibitions approximately every 4 months and will be coupled, as from spring, with an additional exhibition which will be permanent.
Through drawings, paintings, sculptures, original publications and hitherto unreleased films, the exhibition course will offer a proper overview starting with the main international artists who influenced the last century. It will then move on to works by Franco-Belgian comic precursors, American comics and manga comics, presently followed by the advent of animation. Creators who draw worlds for the film industry will naturally find their place amid this course as will the greatest contemporary French and international comic book artists.
Contemporary art that has its roots in video games will punctuate this figurative and narrative overview with key video game designers and producers from the three main continents: Europe, Asia and America. Technology will obviously be addressed and explained, in order to show visitors how computers are a new tool artists use to broaden their realm of possibilities, namely in the video game and animation industries, but one that never replaces the artists themselves.

Thanks to Jean-Jacques Launier and Renaud Hamard for this interview.
This exposition will take place to the Art Ludique – Le Musée (34, Quai d’Austerlitz, 75013 Paris). The exhibition will be open to visitors Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (and up to 10 p.m. on Fridays), and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 2013/2014.
The website about the exposition : http://www.artludique.com.