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Flesh/parchment/flesh

Philipa Rothfield


Michael Pearce, Flow Michael Pearce, Flow
Michael Pearce is a well established stage and costume designer for dance and recently won a Green Room Award (his second) for the set and costumes in James Kudelka’s Book of Alleged Dances (Australian Ballet). His latest solo exhibition, Flow, was inspired by an Asialink residency in Hanoi.

A series of drawings were hung on gallery walls, some overflowing onto the floor. They were shaped like Chinese wall hangings but their content was different. Most of the drawings were of body parts; feet, head, face, wrist, arms. Their vivid colours reminded me of the impressionists’ deconstruction of white light into the spectrum but in this case, the subject was a body in movement. Even in stillness, the impressionists’ concern was with the animation that makes a body alive. My favourite piece was a pair of feet, lapping the floor from the wall. In this interpretation, you could feel the history of practice that has formed this particular pair of feet, the uneven weight distribution, the irregularities of its toes.

Pearce used a ghosting technique to suggest a trace, a not-quite presence related to the very palpable flesh of his work. Even the parchment began to look like skin to me. I was reminded a little of this year’s Sydney Biennale exhibitor, Adriana Varejao, but where her flesh is thrust in your face, Michael’s very gently emerges somewhere between you and the work.


Flow, drawing installation by Michael Pearce, The Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, August 17 - September 3.

RealTime issue #39 Oct-Nov 2000 pg. 38

© Philipa Rothfield; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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