Let's dance chapalango

Contemporary Dance Photography

Let's dance chapalango

Art Galerie, Siegen February 23rd to March 7th 2007

It's not in a faraway country, it's not an exotic city, it's a blank sheet of paper. Google, Altavista and Yahoo know nothing of this place which sounds so enticing.

We know dances of the very different kinds: from indigenous peoples, from dance contests or folk fairs. Between a dance of joy and the dance of death, there are ecstatic, devotional and erotic dances. They exist in all cultures, on every continent, in every country. They all share a devotion to music, rhythm and emobided movement.

Artists and photographers capture this movement, this atmosphere, record it on a still white piece of paper and create images, images full with a tension, an atmosphere and a power of their own. One photographer dances with a camera, the other expertly employs the software Photoshop. These images do not appear as chronicles, but as fabrications like the title of this exhibition itself.

Until March the 7th 2007, the exhibition Let's dance chapalango will display photographs by Marco Ambrosi, Verona/Italy; Suzanne Banning, Houston, Texas/USA; f&d Cartier, Biel-Bienne/Switzerland; Diane Ducruet, Paris/France; Adriana Groisman, NewYork/USA; Lorena Guillen Vaschetti, Buenos Aires/Argentina and New York/USA; Charise Isis, Woodstock, NewYork/USA; Morton Nilsson, Copenhagen/Denmark; and Pavel Odvody, Darmstadt.


About the individual artists:

Marco Ambrosi, born in 1959, lives in Verona, Italy and came to photography as an autodidact. In addition to his commercial photography, painting has inspired much of his independent work. The people in his pictures are break dancers. Space, floor, ceilings and walls become an open surface where bodies dance themselves into new dimensions. They dance powerful athletic figures and combine in the picture without holding the usual perspective, in the electronic beat to new signs. Marco Ambrosi has freed himself from the one central perspective of photography and decided for his images.

Suzanne Banning, born 1973 in Hengelo Overijssel in The Netherlands, studied at the Arnhem School of Art and lives in Houston, Texas. Usually, she says, she likes to dance and sing a lot and takes pictures of herself doing so. For the series on belly dancers, she asked a friend to model for her. Through Suzanne Banning's camera, movement blurs. The dancer, their body, clothing, light and color merge to create a transcendent glow that becomes an expression of the intensity of engaging with the joy of creation.

Françoise and Daniel Cartier live in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland and have worked together since 1997. She is a painter and sculptor, Daniel is a photographer. They like to work with a minimalist approach and in alternative photographic methods, like the photogram. They explore questions of relating to the everyday, life and death, serially. On one of their trips to Mexico, they discovered toy skeletons and began to interrogate the Mexican 'Dia de los Muertos' and the medieval 'Danse macabre', the dance of death. While in Mexican cultures death, images of the dead and skeletons enjoy an almost quotidian position, in Western culture we seem to only have a choice between paradise and hell.

Diane Ducruet, born in 1973, studied at the art schools in Le Havre and Le Mans and graduated in 2000 from the State School of Photography in Arles, France. She now lives between Paris and Hamburg. Diane portrays, herself most of all, but also her surroundings and her family. The series "father dancing" was born from the impulse to betray the family photo and to use the father as a model, while stripping him of all his biographical and psychological characteristics. Young, old - father, daughter all forfeit their relationships to each other, and yet we are still left with the daughter's gaze.

Adriana Groisman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studied at the International Center of Photography in New York and lives there still today. The work "Tango, Never Before Midnight" she dedicates to her homeland. She observes, researches, the world of milongas - the traditional Argentine tango balls - and their aficionados, the milongueros. In Adriana's works we discover this enigmatic world, its tensions, intrigues, envy, hatred and love. People come simply to dance. When they part, they know no more than their first names. No address, no telephone, because it's all about the dance.

Lorena Guillen Vaschetti, born in 1974 in Argentina, studied architecture and anthropology in Buenos Aires. She worked as a freelance architect in Buenos Aires and New York and continued her education in photography through various courses in Argentina and at the International Center for Photography in New York. In her work "painted rituals" she photographs Aborigines people dancing around a fire at night. What we see is not the gaze of the ethnographer, but timeless images full of color and energy, combined with a sensitivity that allows the viewer to experience the image with all their senses.

Charise Isis was born in the United States of America, grew up in New Zealand and then returned to New York at the age of 20 to study acting. She funded her studies first as a waitress in bars, but she later came into contact with exotic dance through friends. With it she paid for her studies, became interested in painting and sculpture and was also able to study photography in Woodstock, where she lives today, while discovering a new passion. In her work she is not concerned with a phenomenon on the fringes of society, but with the beauty, expression and performance of her friends.

Morton Nilsson lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been photographing at official dance competitions and contests throughout Europe for several years. He usually asks the dancers to pose for him between performances in front of a usually random background. The dancers, with their heavy make-up and elaborate costumes, appear to us as if they were enraptured, like wax figures, and yet almost corporeal, close enough to touch. It is precisely this tension between the presence of a person and the waxen appearance that makes these portraits such an experience.

Pavel Odvody, born in 1953 in Domazlice in the Czech Republic, studied at the Technical University in Prague and communication design at the FH Darmstadt. Pavel's works initially seem to take part in two worlds: Still life on the one hand and the figurative nude on the other. What they both share is the compositional entanglement he achieves with the objects he captures, with light, shadow, space, time and movement. His images can hardly be pinned to one point, but let the eye wander constantly, as if beginning to dream or follow the dance between the camera and the model.