Photo: Performance (Flaubert’s Puppets) #2 (left); Sally Smart (right)
Performance (Flaubert’s Puppets) #2
Synthetic polymer paint and ink on fabric, canvas and cotton velvet with collage elements
2400mm x 1050mm
"My recent series of assemblage installation works, Flaubert’s Puppets and In Her Nature, are conceptually informed by the content and processes of performance (cultural, psychological and political), choreography and choreographers drawings (including referencing the revolutionary choreographers Martha Graham and Pina Bausch). I have had a long engagement with the avant-garde modernist women artists, identified with the art practices of Cubism, Dada and Surrealism (Delaunay, Hoch, Popova). Since the mid 1990s I have used painted cut-outs to create large-scale installation work primarily made of painted fabric with collage and photomontage elements pinned directly to the gallery wall. The use of materials is integral to the conceptual unfolding of this work, the process of cutting, pinning, staining and stitching – and their association with women’s practices. The Flaubert’s Puppets series explores the ideas of the feminine identity, performance, and nature. The cut-out, hybridized figures, legs, arms, and swishing skirts fall apart and come together to accentuate movement in these works.
The work Performance (Flaubert’s Puppets) #2, is the first of a series of works made after the installation work Flaubert’s Puppets was exhibited at Postmasters Gallery, New York, in May 2011. These new works reference the figures that made up this large installation work. They are represented using the dense black theatrical space of black velvet with each figure an assemblage of elements (cut-out, silkscreened and painted).
In Performance (Flaubert’s Puppets) #2, the figure is made up of various elements, the dress/costume represented, is a photographic silkscreen image from a performance work of choreographer Martha Graham’s. The head of the figure is a photographic element adhered to canvas and represents a puppet/sculpture of a head made of everyday materials (cardboard, paper, wood), this relates to the Constructivist dolls and performance props used by several early avant-garde modernist artists. (Reference here also to my series of Die Dada Puppen works.)
My politics of cutting are quite literally figured with the patch - work text political represented and cut up, hanging like ribbons/signs/appendages from the body of the figure. There is also the doubling of elements (arms, wrist watches, legs, dresses, etc) amplifying movement and the processes of constructing. The costume elements of zig-zag patterns are sourced from the early works of Delaunay and Popova. The pair legs with sneakers are my own, clues, in the performative processes engaged to make my work."