Filmstudie (1926)

Hans Richter’s pioneering Dada work Filmstudie was an early attempt to combine Dadaist aesthetics and abstraction. Made in 1926 Richter’s film presents the viewer with a disorientating collage of uncanny false eyeballs, distorted faces and abstract forms (none of these themes is treated constantly). It's similar to Man Ray's work in its ballet of motion which combines a playful tension between figurative and abstract forms, both in negative and positive exposure.
Filmstudie is essentialy a transitional work of mixed styles. A number of devices drawing attention to the technical specificity of photography (multiple exposures and negative images) are also included and enter into a successful fusion with the remaining elements.

Dreamlike motifs of magical realisms correspond to the style of surrealist movement (especially in the use of surrealist motifs such as glass eyes, birds, and mask-like faces) which had recently achieved its breakthrough in France. But you can also find animated geometric surfaces and lines from Richter's first films and there are also signs of influence from Cinéma pur and reminiscences of Léger's Ballet Mechanique (1924). Photographs of light and shadow, circular motifs of varied shadings, point-style shapes, light reflections and photographs of a girl's head multiplied through prisms occur in a series in which the abstract forms seem in large part to be blurred and foggy.
Although Richter does not reach the formal subtlety of Eggeling or Ruttmann, his work still contributes substantially to the Absolute Film. He isolated certain parameters and he contributed to construct a basis for a cinematic art independent of the realism and concrete nature of the photographic image. This film also wellded the aesthetic thresholds between photography and animation, erasing some differences and accentuating others.

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