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This Short Film Helps You 'Get' Art

An illustrated protagonist faces a world of shapes, colors, and negative space in "The First Exhibition" by Jonathan Djob Nkondo.

Beckett Mufson

Beckett Mufson

A dark-haired young woman is stranded on a geometrically-perfect island in the middle of endless white space in French animator Jonathan Djob Nkondo's two-and-a-half-minute film, The Last Exhibition. Like a fly caught in a conceptual trap, she has no idea what to make of her surroundings, or if there is a "right" or "wrong" way to interpret the reality around her. Nkondo's perspective-spinning short is filled with warped lines, shifting colors, and abject terror—and actually hides a solid message about how to look at abstract art. Aided by nuanced music and sound design by SKILLBARD, the vertigo-inducing style keeps the mind guessing at what's happening until the very end.

Nkondo plays as fast and loose with the medium as he does with the rules of reality, applying his talent for weight, light, and color to murals, comics, GIFs, and his own shorts. He also helps out on other productions, like Joseph Bennett and Charles Huettner's sci-fi romp, Scavengers. He's at his most beautifully absurd when he's trapped in his own mind, as he seems in The Last Exhibition.

Check out more or Nkondo's work here.

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