Wallace and Gromit in Paris

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We’re all big fans of our fellow Wiganers, Wallace and Gromit, and the work oftheir creators, Nick Park and his colleagues at Aardman animation. So when we saw posters on the Metro and in the streets of Paris advertising an exhibition devoted to their work we just had to go and have a look.

The exhibition was taking place at Art Ludique, a museum devoted to comics, mangas, video games, live action cinema and animation films,  which is on the Quai d’Austerlitz. So we took the Metro over to the Gare d’Austerlitzand walked the short distance down the Seine to Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design where the museum is located.

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The exhibition features

Over 350 concept drawings, character and background studies, watercolours, and storyboards will complete this exceptional exhibition, where one can even discover Nick Park’s sketchbook as a student, containing the first drawings of Wallace and Gromit, never before seen by the public.

It covered al their work from the early animations such as Morph and the Creature Comforts film that won them their first Oscar, music videos and TV commercials and their feature films including A Grand Day out and the other Wallace and Gromit films, Chicken Run, Sean the Sheep, the Movie (a spin off from A Close Shave), Pirates Adventures with Scientists and others.

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(source ArtLudique website)

It was fantastic being able to see the models and sets. The detail in them is incredible – obsessive really as many of them hardly appear on screen, if at all, in the films.

I loved seeing the jokes and puns – I don’t know how well they’d translate into French! Some of them are only sensible when spoken with a Lancashire accent, where master animator comes from (born in Preston). An example was a bottle of washing up liquid in a set of Wallace’s kitchen which was labelled “Furry” (which is exactly how I would pronounce “Fairy”)

It was really interesting to be able to see the concept drawings which show how the characters evolved and developed from conception to screen. Here’s an early sketch of Gromit

(source ArtLudique website)

which is quite a lot different from the character we have grown to love over the years

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(Image source Wikipedia)

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The obsession with detail was particularly well illustrated by the pirate sp from Pirates Adventure with Scientists displayed towards the end of the exhibition. It was enormous and the detailing was incredible. The conceptual and technical drawings displayed with it showed the lengths the animators go to with detailed descriptions of even the smallest component

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(source ArtLudique website)

We spent a good couple of hours in the exhibition, longer than we expected. It was well worth the trip to a slightly out of the way district. It will be a pity if it isn’t transferred to the UK after its run in Paris.

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