Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

It’s not very often that I walk out of an exhibition where my face hurts from smiling too much. There really should be a warning sign at the entrance of ACMI’s latest exhibition Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman clearly stating the risk of facial cramping from the abundant whimsy and delightful displays of artistry that await inside. Instead you’ll find a human sized replica of Wallace’s sitting room, complete with a portrait of his favourite cheese (Wensleydale if I’m not mistaken), and a happy snap of the day Gromit graduated from Dogwarts University. See what I mean – smiling already!

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

Emma and I are both huge fans of the work of Aardman, and are especially fond of all the Wallace & Gromit shorts and The Pirates! Band of Misfits, as well as Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, Flushed Away and everything else in between. We love it all!

You don’t have to be a hardcore fan to enjoy this exhibition, but I guarantee you’ll probably leave as one.

ACMI Wallace & Gromit and Friends

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman reflects the quirky humour and idiosyncratic charm of the British studio from the sketchbooks, concept drawings and storyboards where ideas take shape, to the intricate, handmade puppets and sets.

ACMI Wallace & Gromit and Friends

ACMI Wallace & Gromit and Friends

Look at the details on that tiny costume. Her hair is needle felted – Genius!

The exhibition boasts more than 350 objects including original artworks, over 50 set pieces such as Wallace’s Cracking Contraptions (my fave: the forklift wearing oven mitts) and Gromit’s famous vegetable garden. There were so many amazing sets and contraptions, including the flying machine from Chicken Run, stunningly detailed sets and props from many films including The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and the spectacular 5-metre tall ship from The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

ACMI Wallace & Gromit and Friends

Every set had the most incredible amount of detail. It’s hard to believe those lettuces aren’t real

I really enjoyed how the work was presented by theme, and the displays featured were supported by a short video presentation to help put the pieces in context.

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

Drawings, storyboards and rough models give a real insight into the creative process and technical problem solving strategies involved in each production.

“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!” – ACMI CEO & Director, Katrina Sedgwick

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

Every set is magnificently detailed. Even the back of the chairs are upholstered, something you probably would never notice in the film.

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

I was blown away by the the detail involved in every stage of the animation process as well as the quirky humor incorporated into the sets. Every little prop is perfectly made, and as a crafter I can really appreciate the 100’s of hours it must have taken just to make a small set, let alone animate the scenes.

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

Emma loved recognizing her favourite characters and explaining to anyone that would listen the exact scenes each display was from.

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman at ACMI

A camera takes a photo of this robot every 5 seconds creating an animated film that displays the last 30min of action on a loop.

Young kids will enjoy animating their own clay character and giant wooden robot in The Studio equipped with iPads and mini sets to make your own stop motion film.

As you are leaving, don’t miss the additional artworks and sneak peek of the studio’s forthcoming feature film Early Man due for release in 2018 which is exclusive to ACMI.

This exhibition is a fitting way to celebrate the work of the many artists and craftspeople that have contributed to the studio and its films over the last 40 years.

Go an see it, I can guarantee you’ll leave smiling!

Shaun the sheep - mypoppet.com.au

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman

WHERE: ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
WHEN: Thursday 29 June – 29 October 2017
Open daily 10am–5pm
HOW MUCH: Full $24 Family $65 Concession $20 Child $15 Member $19

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