Shotgun 8: The Choreography of Cutting
Location: Contemporary Art Tasmania
Sally Smart will discuss the most recent work in her The Choreography of Cutting series, titledThe Violet Ballet, an installation work and a three channel moving image work, assemblage costumes and curtains, recently premiering for the Adelaide Festival, at ACE_Open. The Violet Ballet continues Sally Smart’s enduring fascination with the avant-garde dance company the Ballets Russes (1909-1929), known for its experimental choreography, costume and theatre design. In an immersive and layered installation assembled from textiles, costumes, projection, Indonesian Wayang puppetry, shadow play and dance, Smart re-imagines one of the Ballet’s most macabre and visually complex works, Chout (Tale of the Buffoon). Based in Paris, the Ballets Russes was founded by Russian ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev and widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the twentieth century. This is in large part due to the company’s ground breaking collaborations across creative fields, including projects with visual artists Sonia Delaunay, Natalia Goncharova, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Chout (Tale of the Buffoon), based on a Russian folk tale, tells the story of “a buffoon who outwits seven other buffoons”. Ridiculous and murderously brutal, the piece is equally memorable for its vivid, angular Cubist scenery and costumes, which radically deconstruct space and turn its dancers into a moveable part of the overall scenario. Alongside its unique combination of art, fashion and staging, the Ballets Russes was also distinct in mixing modernity and orientalism (that is, the construction and excoticisation of the Eastern world via a European imagination). Another key element of Smart’s practice is her ongoing engagement with traditional Indonesian shadow puppet performances. This continues in The Violet Ballet and opens up trans-national ideas about identity politics and the relationships between the body, thought and cultural histories.
Sally Smart is known for her large-scale cut-out assemblage installations and increasingly, performance and video, her practice engages identity politics and the relationships between the body, thought and culture including trans-national ideas that have shaped cultural history. The recipient of numerous awards and prizes, Smart is currently Vice – Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, a board member (Deputy Chair) National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) and was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship (2014) and Sackler Fellow Artist-in Residence, University of Connecticut, USA (2012). Sally Smart exhibitions include:The Choreography of Cutting Postmasters Gallery, New York (2016); Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2016); Conversation: Endless Acts of Human History (with Entang Wiharso), Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta (2016); Six Degrees of Separation Galeri Canna, Jakarta (2015); and Dark Heart: 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2014).
Sally Smart is in Tasmania courtesy of Shotgun. Shotgun is a partnership project between DETACHED, Mona and Contemporary Art Tasmania.