Chaconne de Paeton
2007


Installation at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan
Mobile Structures: Dialogues Between Ceramics and Architecture in Canadian Art
(January 27 to May 13, 2007).
(Moss, Clay, Video)

 

Curated by Timothy Long, Mobile Structures: Dialogues Between Ceramics and Architecture in Canadian Art investigates recent ceramic practices which seek to re-establish a dialogue with architecture in the creation of new senses of space, dwelling, identity, body and nature. The artists provide intriguing examples of how ceramics responds to architectural ideas and how architecture might respond in turn. Taking as a starting point ideas developed by Vancouver critic Amy Gogarty, the exhibition examines the potential of ceramics to challenge the fixed qualities of architecture by creating “mobile structures,” both literally and metaphorically. Selected from across Canada, the nine artists were: Ruth Chambers, Neil Forrest, Jeremy Hatch, Rory MacDonald, Jeannie Mah, Alwyn O'Brien, Gilbert Poissant, Christian Bernard Singer, and Linda Sormin.

 

Based on the notion that choreography might function somewhat like a path, I was simultaneously drawn to the codified and orderly structure of Baroque dance notation, and to visual parallels found in period landscape architecture.


Made of unfired white clay and further highlighted in white engobe, the notations rest upon a path of moss, rising and falling as it follows hills and valleys in the moss landscape. Projected onto an adjacent wall, dancer Daniel Gariepy of La Belle Danse floats through the dance movements in a decelerated and silent video.


When Paheton learned that his father was Apollo, God of the Sun, he went east to meet him. Apollo, pleased at discovering his son, promised him anything his heart desired. Phaeton boldly asked to drive his father's Chariot of the Sun across the heavens for one day. Apollo, realising that his son's inexperience could lead to disaster, desperately tried to dissuade him but when that failed, he felt obligated to honour his promise. The horses quickly sensed the young driver's inability to hold the reins, ran wild and Phaeton completely lost control. The chariot flew too close to the earth, drying waters and burning vegetation into a desert (Ethiopia). Before things got worse, Zeus, King of the Gods, threw one of his thundebolts at the chariot and Phaeton fell dead to the earth.


Chaconne de Paeton was first choreographed and performed by Guillaume-Louis Pecour (France: 1653-1729) and notated by Raoul-Auger Feuillet (France: 1660-1710), who was the first to publish a system of dance notation in 1700.


This installation is the third in a series of dance installations (see also Sarabande/Contrepointe: La Bourgogne) and Entrée d'Apollon.


This installation was originally installed at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario in a 2005 solo exhibition curated by Virginia Eichhorn, entitled: Tessellated Anamnesis - Patterns for Unforgetting: New Work by Christian Bernard Singer. See review for that exhibiition by Gil McElroy in Sculpture Magazine (March 2006)

 

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©2005 Christian Bernard Singer.
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