The Animated GIF as an Art Form

The Animated GIF as an Art Form

Painting, collage, photography, music, installation, sculpture, and even video are all acknowledged mediums for art. But can we truly consider a proper GIF animation as "fine art?" Six recent winners of Saatchi Gallery's and Google+'s new Motion Photography Prize prove the answer is, "Yes," as they celebrate this new form of "motion photography."

The GIF image launched its own resurgence in the midst of the booming of Internet memes in their seemingly infinite motion forms. Reactions of celebrities on TV shows or in red carpet interviews (Jennifer Lawrence, anyone?) top Reddit charts and the most popular blogs as mass media takes the animated GIF on its new ride. But at least one gallery is trying to capitalize on the possibilities of the medium as a form of artistic expression.

Saatchi Gallery supports, shows, and shares contemporary art -- they're involvement is quite obvious. However, Google+'s involvement is interesting, as it was through the ability to easily create animated GIFs with images uploaded to Google+ that made the platform the perfect partner for the Motion Photography Prize, the winner and finalists of which were announced April 17.

Winner, Christina Rinaldy -- Urban | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery Winner, Christina Rinaldy -- Urban | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

Film director Baz Luhrmann, artists Shezad Dawood, Tracey Emin and Cindy Sherman, and Saatchi Gallery CEO Nigel Hurst sat on the panel that judged over 4000 entries from 52 countries to decide on a single winner, five finalists, and a shortlist of 54 additional animations that are currently on exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London until May 24th.

Emma Critchley -- People | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery Emma Critchley -- People | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

Stefanie Schneider -- Landscape | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery Stefanie Schneider -- Landscape | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

Matthew Clarke -- Night | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery Matthew Clarke -- Night | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

Kostas-Agiannitis Kostas Agiannitis -- Lifestyle | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

Micael Reynaud -- Action | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery Micael Reynaud -- Action | Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery

If anything, Saatchi Gallery's new endeavor proves the world is short of no ingenuity or creativity. While Saatchi can prove motion photography deserves a place in fine art history, there's one thing they can't yet prove: is it GIF or "JIF?" Yes, I know: as stated by its creator, the GIF is apparently pronounced, "JIF." But I still refuse to accept that.

Here's a thought: forget the debate and create a fantastic animated GIF in your spare time that you can share! Just a thought...

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4 Comments

seems like a new era is emerging

There is nothing worse than a bad cinemagraph.. I'm sorry, but we have to stop praising thoses gifs who don't respect the cinemagraph rules. A decent gif can't loop bad (like all the ones on this page), it can't ping-pong either! None of the gifs on this page are worth mentioning. They're just approximative work.

I am new to this and although I understand the looping aspect, what is the 'ping pong' aspect?

the "ping-pong" aspect is when a clip is played forwards and then in reverse to appear to be an infinite loop. Watch the Emma Critchley — People gif and see the releflections do this