Dancers have provided inspiration for artists for centuries. I think it’s a dancer’s constant search for the perfect line and form and the potential expressiveness and passion of the human body which fascinates photographers, painters and sculptors.
Sydney based artist Lisa Tomasetti currently has a free exhibition of photographs she took for the Australian Ballet over a number of years which takes audiences ‘behind the scenes’. Not so much behind the scenes in terms of viewing rehearsals, watching from the wings or access into dressing rooms, but rather taking the dancers off the stage and onto the street during their international tours to Tokyo, New York and Paris.
The large scale works pose ballerinas in their classical costumes performing amazing dance feats and juxtaposed against recognisable urban environments – the faceless black-clad commuters of a Tokyo subway station, next to a cop car on the streets of Manhattan or in front of a metro sign in Paris. Some of the pairings are so incongruous that it’s as if the dancers have been photoshopped into their background, particularly when they’re captured while suspended in mid-air.
My top three favourite images all come from New York.
The first is of Amy Harris on Brooklyn Bridge. I love that bridge as a piece of architecture and the lines of wire and wood and the spaces created between them are echoed in the sculptural style of the ballerina’s concertina tutu from Divertimento which is also constructed from a traditional building material – air conditioning pipes (the tutu is currently on display at NGV as part of their Ballet and Fashion exhibition). Amy also looks like she’s spontaneously leaping for joy!
My second favourite picture is of Reiko Hombo arching into a leap in front of a neon American flag. I like that it’s contemporary and modern without speaking specifically of a particular time or place (it was taken in Times Square). And the form in that jete is so graceful yet powerfully explosive at the same time, with her hair flying tightly around her head.
Similarly I love the Amber Scott in ‘The Highline’. Again I like the fact that it’s an urban landscape at first glance and only with more attention does it become clear that it’s the skyline of Manhattan, with the Empire State Building peeking out on the left. I like how Amber seems to be ecstatically enraptured by the expanse of the city.
Fans of dance and photography shouldn’t miss this exhibition and limited edition prints of each of the works are available for sale in a large or small format from James Makin Gallery. To view more images click here.
Lisa Tomasetti “Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage”, James Makin Gallery, 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood +61 3 9416 3966
7th – 30th March 2013
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm, Sunday – Monday by appointment