The Manoel Theatre Courtyard, Valletta, Malta.
October – November 2006
As a photographer I have been interested in the performing arts for a very long time. This may be partly due to my own experience, albeit very limited, in the theatre. As far as this exhibition is concerned, the nature of my photography has narrowed down my interest to the two art forms treated in this collection, namely dance and music. Why these two?
Dance is one of the idioms at the disposal of the human form just as much as the naked figure is another of its idioms. Dance and nudes are not completely distinct from each other as expressions. Needless to say, this is true for both the model – in terms of them being the subject – and the photographer. You can’t deny that there is dance in the nude, such as the dance of light and shadow on the contours of the figure, the posture as well as the sense of stillness. In these works, I try to convey the passionate dynamics of the moving bodies.
One cannot divorce dance from music. Hence, the other aspect of my interest. The warmth, the intimate rapport between instrument and musician; the intimacy and the sounds; these are all captured, distilled in one single instant. In some of the images, however, I try to choose a more suggestive approach to the subject. The instrument is defamiliarized, making the viewer perceive the physical structures from a different perspective, thus the viewer is faced with a paradox: the instrument, or that part of it treated in the image, is seen as something else (a metaphysical transformation insofar as the music it can produce can be transcendental) while at the same time the instrument is more of what it is.
The intention is to give to the viewer the feeling that the images provoked when they were produced. All this, music and dance and the image, as every other art form, is a gift as much to the performer as to the audience. A gift, nevertheless, imbued with sacrifice as much as with passion. What comes to mind here is Prometheus, the mythical character. And that is why I have chosen to call this exhibition The Gift of Fire.