Exhibition: Anime Architecture - Fredrikstad Animation Festival

Exhibition: Anime Architecture

Anime Architecture is the first showcase of iconic anime background artwork by Riekeles Gallery in Norway!

Since the success of Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell (1995), Japanese anime has secured its place in international pop culture. Much of the cinematic power of these films stems from the opulent representation of cityscapes. Anime Architecture presents the production design behind these cyberpunk anime. In creating these works, visionary art directors forged a visual language deeply rooted in the burgeoning Asian metropolises of the late 1980s, projecting vivid visions of dystopian futures onto the screen. The exhibition presents reproductions of superb renderings of urban architecture made for the screen which are usually visible for only a few seconds in the movie. Presented as artwork on the wall these hand-drawn backgrounds offer meticulous artificial wonderlands to dive into.

The showcase features high-grade 1:1 reproductions of works by Hiromasa Ogura (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor – The Movie), Toshiharu Mizutani (AKIRA), Hiroshi Ohno (AKIRA), Shuichi Kusamori (Ghost in the Shell, Metropolis). These acclaimed artists belong to a generation of illustrators who draw animation films almost only by hand. Although today computer graphics are additionally used across all production areas, paper, pencil and brush remain their essential tools. Thanks to their artistic craftsmanship, the works are finished with intricate attention to detail.

Curator Stefan Riekeles embarked on his journeys to the studios of Tokyo’s animation artists 15 years ago. He unearthed a treasure trove of image boards, meticulous technical pencil layouts, and vibrant colored backgrounds originating from the golden era of Japanese sci-fi anime dating back to the 1980s. Riekeles found himself immediately captivated by these artworks, which stood as striking paintings in their own right. The futuristic cityscapes, adorned with pulsating neon lights, define the narrative landscapes of these films yet make only fleeting appearances on the screen, interwoven amidst an ensemble of characters, vehicles, and gadgets. His research led to the publication of his book “Anime Architecture” (Thames & Hudson, 2020).

Riekeles Gallery founded in 2021 in Berlin, offers high-quality reproductions of animation backgrounds. The gallery’s mission is to present and archive the art of background painting which is usually visible for only a few seconds on screen and rarely regarded as an artform in its own right. 

All reproductions on display are available for purchase at the exhibition from Camino bok and online from www.riekeles.com. The exhibition Riekeles Gallery offers free shipping to customers in Norway.

Exhibition Opening on Wednesday 18 October at 20:30 at Fredrikstad Kino.