Dust and Spores on a Dancer's Cloths
Davide Balula (b. Vila Dum Santo, Portugal, 1978 – lives and works in New York, US) makes use of all the elements (earth, water, air and fire) and of all states of matter (solid, liquid and gas). In his multidisciplinary and multimedia practice, art can take the form of sculpture, photographs and performances – in which he often works with dancers and musicians – but also of sound compositions, measuring instruments and scientific experiments. He is inspired by audio-visual and biomedical technologies, chemistry and physics, and brings that scientific knowledge into the realm of art in order to expand the boundaries of what can be perceived and imagined. He has, for example, created sculptures that evolve according to spectators’ internet flows . But he has also soaked paintings in streams, buried them underground and placed them in climate chambers. He is known particularly for his series of ‘burnt paintings’, which consist of pieces of burnt wood and their imprints on canvas.
For Brief Encounters, he further developed this series of works, this time in a performative method. Six dancers, dressed completely in white, performed a choreography that was based entirely on the instruction for them to become stained with forest soil and other natural elements. With this work, Balula literally returned people to the earth from which they came. At the same time he was creating living paintings, in the tradition of Yves Klein.
Ben & Géraldine Ducros