March 2, 2024

Fringe Review: Figure Studies and Slow Dancing at Summerhall

 

An entrancing and captivating exhibition, Figure Studies and Slow Dancing by David Michalek consists of three large high definition screens showing naked men and women in incredibly slow motion.  The larger than life figures tower over the captivated audience who stare on in awe, unable and unwilling to look away. The combination of complete silence and such beautifully slow movement is enthralling to watch. It’s easy to find yourself drifting away into a world of slow motion movement. In this world, perfection and imperfect beauty go hand in hand.

The video images show normal men and women dancing, wrestling, washing and doing normal everyday tasks like watering flowers, all fully naked. It is utterly fascinating to watch each individual muscle move in such epically slow motion. In the safe space of a gallery, it is a breath of fresh air to look and be looked at without judgment or shame.  Admiration at each beautiful nude form ranges from the conventionally attractive to the unconventionally mesmerising.

The video seamlessly melts into each new figure and another dance or scene. The mundane actions reveal each individual’s nudity whilst making nakedness ordinary and beautiful simultaneously. By taking the negative charge out of nudity, this piece challenges our British prudishness whilst also giving the naked body a positive power of it’s own.

This simple yet enthralling idea coupled with such perfect silence creates a contemplative space where the viewer can watch unembarrassed and intrigued. A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking piece of brilliantly executed video installation art – well worth a visit.

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