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‘Whether expressing the innermost soul or responding to place, “the dance” in its purest form transcends words. Logic cannot translate its meaning. Movement is somehow felt in the viewer’s whole being. In a series over ten years I have made photographs with dance artists able to freely go to that space where body and spirit transcend the purely physical. My aim as an artist is to reveal this phenomenon: in much the same way, the two-dimensional image evokes a resonance of that moment; it lingers beyond its existence in time.
Silver gelatin photographs handcrafted in the artist’s darkroom in the Yarra Valley.
Work includes collaborations with dancers Venettia Miller, Gretel Taylor, Aleix Martinez, with sound artist Anthony Magen and composer and musician Tom Fitzgerald. Exhibiting alongside the sculptural works of Emmy Mavroidis.
This body of work has been made over a ten year period. Originally seeking to explore how the ‘feeling’ of movement could be emotionally conveyed through a two-dimensional photograph, the first series ‘La Poesia della Danza’ (the poetry of dance) was inspired by the desire to witness dance as ‘expression of the soul’, as a place where dance originates, not through choreographed movement but from some inner place that works through the body as its vehicle for expression. The La Poesia series we made in silence, with no talking, no choreography, no lights, no music… just an intention to ‘dance from within’. I felt I, with camera, was a part of that dance. Venettia, the dancer in this series, and I made the series in one extended dream-like session. Several other sessions with Venettia resulted in works included in this exhibition… some emanating from the dancer’s inner space, others responding to ‘place’, such as the laundry series, made in the Magdalena Laundries of Abbotsford Convent. The work with Venettia solidified my fascination with Vaslav Nijinsky and a desire to find a way to tap into a reflect the genius of the man that transformed ballet and became the the first and perhaps greatest male artistic star of ‘the dance’. Finding a dancer who could step into that space led me through a series of remarkable synchronicities and events to the dancer Aleix Martinez, then a young soloist with the Hamburg Ballet. The result was the series ‘Nijinsky and the Ecstasy of the Divine’. The ‘Dances with Lyrebirds’ series was a collaboration with dance artist Gretel Taylor and sound artist Anthony Magen. Inspired by buln-buln, the emblem of Victoria and of such significance to the Wurundjeri, these works were made in the forests of the Yarra Ranges, with Gretel responding to both landscape and essence of the lyrebird.’
The Dance by Kate Baker. Yering Station Art Gallery, Yering Victoria, until 23 May 2021.
Interview with Kate Baker.
Main photograph above: The Yearning 84 x 84 cm silver gelatin print by Kate Baker.