This World Premiere displays the intricate work of South Australian born artist Sally Smart.
Reviewed at the Lion Arts Centre on 3 March 2019
Presented by Sally Smart
This World Premiere displays the intricate work of South Australian born artist Sally Smart. Her continued interest in the avant garde style of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes has resulted in a fascinating installation and visual exhibition examining the production of a Russian folk tale, Chout – The Buffoon, first performed in Paris in May 1921.
The original costumes were designed by Mikhail Larionov and featured Russian interpretations of cubism and futurism. Smart’s asymmetrical recreations are exquisitely constructed, embroidered and heavily embellished and also feature the fractured cubist forms which seem transferred from paintings to the dancers’ moving bodies. On the other side they are flat and grey, looking somewhat like playing cards. The restrictive nature of the original costumes has been kept but in a simpler form and visitors can view the new costumes which are displayed in the entrance to the exhibition.
The company sought to combine modernity with the mystery of the East, at least as seen through a European lens. Smart has also incorporated the exploratory spirit of the Ballet Russes in this exhibition as she again engages with traditional Indonesian shadow puppets – with these on one screen while the dancers occupy the opposite screen.
I especially enjoyed the combination of shadow puppetry with the Russian folk tale as we see the goat from the tale – left behind when the young buffoon escapes – projected larger than life. However, I have to say that as I was not familiar with this folk tale, I found it hard to decipher what the dancers were portraying.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw