From music clip to exhibition installation, Perth Local Tim minchin’s Leaving LA opens as part of Perth Festival  

Leaving LA brings together the visions of two Western Australian creative luminaries: singer-songwriter, comedian, actor and director Perth’s Tim Minchin, and his childhood friend, artist, graphic designer, director and animator Tee Ken Ng. The project is a three-dimensional realisation of the animated music video Ng created for Minchin’s song Leaving LA.

Presented as a live animation installation, the exhibition combines hand-made zoetropes, projection, camera-phones and video, revealing the unique and exquisite charm, art and craft of Tee Ken Ng’s animation practice.

AGWA Curator of Western Australian and Australian Art, Robert Cook, said, “Tee Ken Ng’s animation practice is globally recognised, having worked for Grammy Award-winning musicians and undertaking commissions from the likes of Apple, Google, Twitter, Netflix and Perrier. What’s been exciting about this exhibition is the opportunity to work with an artist whose work is uncompromisingly ambitious, accessible, inventive and so full of feeling.” 

“In a sense it is also a return to his roots, as his early career saw him involved in a multimedia installation practice, while also being a showcase of an artist at the height of his powers. Viewers will be, I’m sure, bowled over by their encounter with this work, finding themselves deep within a living artwork”.

Perth local Tim Minchin wrote the lyrics to Leaving LA in his final year of living in Los Angeles. The song reflects the disappointment he felt after the cancellation of a four-year project. It also highlights the two-dimensionality of Hollywood and the bittersweet feeling of the end of an era.

When Perth’s Minchin first approached fellow Perth based designer, and former childhood school friend, Tee Ken Ng to collaborate with him, they discussed animating with cut outs and paper models. “We both felt that paper construction was a fitting medium to depict a place of superficiality and facades.” Tee Ken said.

“To illustrate the narrative of the song I had the idea that if we combined paper constructed animation with spinning zoetropes we could create a captivating illusory world for Tim to be trapped in (like a rat on a wheel) and eventually escape from.”

Simultaneously magical and mechanical, zoetropes are pre-film animation devices made since the mid-19th century. They are circular objects that feature still images that, when rotated, create the illusion of movement, much like cinema would employ many years later.

Twelve zoetropes were created for the Leaving LA video. All the frames of animation were captured from footage shot of Minchin and his band across two days in Sydney. Every frame was then printed and cut out from paper, arranged and glued down in sequence around the circumference of the zoetrope discs. The exhibition features the original zoetropes and objects from the video alongside live projections, the final music video itself and a documentary on its production.

Tim Minchin describes the film as a project that not only enhances the song but utterly transcends it, stating, “It is one of the most wonderful pieces of animation I have ever seen.”

“The physical zoetropes alone are beautiful works of sculpture. The melding of art and science in making the characters come alive is breath-taking. It is simultaneously incredibly complex and beautifully simple.”

It now takes on another form in the free exhibition which opens 30 January 2021.

Artist Talk  
2-3.30pm, 13 February | FREE, bookings required
Join artist and director Tee Ken Ng, producer Aidan O’Bryan, cinematographer Mick McDermott and artist Paul Caporn to discuss the behind the scenes workings of Tim Minchin’s music video Leaving LA.

For more information click here.

The Making of LEAVING LA by Perth’s Tim Minchin and Tee Ken Ng.