Sunday, 26 March 2017

More paintings you have never seen (3)

Paintings you have never seen (3)

It's not even signed, but this study (acrylic on canvas,130 x 80 cm) has the spontaneity of an experiment, full of the excitement of a 1987 commission from the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra as a gift to the Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague. The new theatre (sadly now demolished) had a very wide stage of 18 metres. Merging representation and abstraction, I wanted to show the relationship between the conductor and musicians in the pit (lower right), and the dancers who come leaping on to the stage after waiting in the wings (right) then moving off (left). 

The black vertical line is the first indication of my wish to have the dancers "break out of the box" in some way. That eventually resulted in a decision to divide the painting into panels, like irregular stepping stones, or rather jumping stones, a rhythmic design telling its own story, floating free from the wall.

A major inspiration for this painting was Jirí Kylián's Sinfonietta (to the music with the same title by Janáček). Choreographed in 1978, this great work became a cornerstone of NDT's repertoire. And Jirí (who celebrated his seventieth birthday this week) became a major inspirational force in my watercolours with dance throughout the eighties, like this one.
Sinfonietta, watercolour and oil pastel, 50 x 70 cm, 1986/87

Here's the first photoshoot of the mural, acrylic on board, seven metres long, freshly installed in the Netherlands Dance Theatre in 1989. Yes, that's the dancers' studio mirror below. 

(Photo: Ben Vollebregt)

You can find my story of the glorious years working in the NDT dance studios in an earlier blog: The Case of the Lost PaintingAll eight sections of the mural are now safely in storage in my studio. How wonderful it would be to exhibit it somewhere again!


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