A large disco ball revolves in the middle of the room, projecting innumerable disparate small green squares, which elongate and distort in size as they move throughout the space. But on closer inspection, the broken puzzle of scattered light begins to come together: Pieces of a woman dancing are scattered among the squares on the back wall of the gallery – fragments of imagery that need to be pieced together in our mind to be identified. The title of Selina Trepp's Private Dancer, 2009, starts to make sense.
Selina invited well-known dancer Ayako Kato to dance to the music of Tina Turner’s weary R&B hit from the 80s. And the result is a strange juxtaposition of Kato's Butoh movements to a pop song, but metaphorically interesting taking in consideration the multitude of implications. The fractured image is much like the fractured identity of a private dancer, or taxi-girl, still so popular in China or Vietnam, paid to engage in an act of intimacy yet maintaining her anonymity, while the disco ball takes us to that period when the song was at its peak, but it’s broken and fragments of it are scattered on the floor. Althoug the song itself does not play out loud, the suggestion through the title might inspire us to play it in our own heads as we focus our attention to the small spaces on the wall where fragments of the dancer are projected. According to Trepp, "Her performance has been given only once, for me, she is projected as is, without any editing."
From the installation room, I walked into a well-lighted auxiliary space featuring the second part of the exhibition – a series of paintings on board, shaped as over-sized wall labels, each featuring a different title, and different materials. It’s large. It’s in charge. is made of bronze and 16mm film. Sweet Corruption is made of wax, wick, and wood. Huh? Try imagining that work of art….But Selina actually started these paintings from the actual artwork, which is materialized in her head somewhere, and left us the work of trying to figure something out – anything. The possibilities are endless, or not….The artist engages the viewer directly, and asks us to really participate in the creation of the work itself. It would be fun to actually try….
Both projects, the Private Dancer installation as well as the Labels series, make the viewer work at putting pieces together and creating. We are included in the creative process, and asked to become artists as well. The boundaries between artist and viewer are blurred and in a typical postmodern way, the burden is on us to imagine the finished products, to question the nature of art, and to conceptualize realities from prompts.
- Olga Stefan