STUDIES AND RESEARCH
Tex Avery — Disney negation of Disney
After the 1930s, animation mostly developed in relation to Disney, and the most original example of creative opposition to Disney was Tex Avery (1908-1980), author of probably the most humorous cartoons ever made in the United States. During his career in Warner Studio and later on MGM, Avery functioned as an independent Disney negation of Disney, a sort of anti-Disney — he used Disney’s full animation and drawn realism, but with the intention to create surreal, so that his ’illusion of life’ became anti-illusion through the aggressive parodying of the rules of ’realism’ and ideological purity. Disney’s utopia of eternal fun and leisure, his politically un-engaged and sexually non-defined characters were totally destructed in anarchical comedies where Avery’s characters drew their life force from their sexual drives, and their life philosophy from the theatre of the absurd. Avery drastically increased the speed of rhythm of animation and reduced the time necessary for understanding the gags. Avery’s characters were not bursting with intelligence — they were all more or less crazy, whereas Avery’s most intense diversion directed at Disney’s view of animation was the awareness of the medium he gave to his characters. The characters communicated with and constantly reminded the viewers that they were a product of one not too rational animator. The line they most frequently repeated, ’Who’s directing this picture?’ was openly showing Brechtian awareness of the medium. Much before the 1950s and the avant-garde filmmakers, Avery used perforations on film as an active part of film space, along with transformation of film colour, and incorporated the very act of film projection in the wholesome cinema experience, accompanied with the awareness of film screen as a two-dimensional surface. Finally, Avery put in his films the so-called subliminal details, those that are not perceived consciously, but are unmistakeably registered by our subconscious.