In 1936 Oskar Fischinger accepted an invitation from Paramount to come to America and work in Hollywood. In Germany he had been a distinguished inventor, theorist, and maker of abstract and industrial short films. Once in the United States, however, he soon found himself at odds with the factorylike methods of the major studios, and sought expression in the creation of independently financed experimental films. His greatest achievement in this field, and his last completed project, is Motion Painting I. A film of extraordinary beauty and rhythmic power, it is an abstract work created by painting with oils on Plexiglas. Set to an excerpt from J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, it comprises an exuberant series of intricate transformations—one every twenty–fourth of a second—that explore the dynamic relationship between sound and image, and the film's unique combination of visual and aural tonalities never ceases to amaze and charm. Motion Painting I is a testament to Fischinger's passion for experimentation and invention.
Publication excerpt from In Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art by Steven Higgins, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 204.