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Christy Lee Rogers: ÉLAN
Fri 13th June – Sat 19th July 2014 Private view: Thurs 12th June 6pm-9pm
ÉLAN: French for vigour, spirit, and an enthusiasm typically revealed by assurance or brilliance of performance, is a fitting title for Rogers’ new body of completely un-manipulated photographs. All will be released as very limited editions in a small number of sizes. 24 different works make up ÉLAN, all heavily influenced by the circus in its many guises. It’s a subject that has entranced many, such as the Impressionist school, who are drawn in by the romance which certain gifted physical forms are so capable of communicating.
“I was inspired by Paris, the performances of the Moulin Rouge, the old circuses, wild abandonment and that feeling of letting go that explodes out of you like you’re drunk with love,” says the artist.
Christy’s new work features a gentle mix of the classical, the abstract, and the wild. They depict a multiplicity of entangled bodies, ravishing the space that they occupy, while delicately floating in her extravagant underwater world. “I imagined living in Paris during the1920s as a performer, with no possessions except for your talent and art, and how free, yet desperate, that would be,” she says.
Christy is revered by painters for her uncanny ability to master chiaroscuro lighting, a contrast between light and dark used to great effect by the late Renaissance master Caravaggio. The technique lends a baroque sensitivity to her works, which are all shot underwater. No camera trickery or special effects are used whatsoever – merely the photographer’s ambition plus her uncanny eye for the physical artistry of human gymnastics. Moreover, in the case of the ÉLAN exhibition itself, Christy has enlisted the services of some of the world’s premiere performance artists.
To capture these images, Christy flew to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA where she worked with ten of the world’s most extraordinary performers; dance masters, synchronized swimmers, aerialists, pole dancers and actors. “You know a true talent by the enthusiasm they bring to their performance and to everything around them. That energy just exudes out of them and it’s so inspiring,” she says.
In what could be described as blissful irresponsibility Christy lets go of all rationality, and turns up the insouciance to superimpose classical elements upon ostentatious costumes dressing some of the world’s top performers. These contemporary harlequins are clad in bold candy stripes, graphic checks, metallic masks, and flowing silks in deep hues – making the perfect visual contrast to the translucent water and mercurial air bubbles enveloping their troupe.
Be exhilarated by the 21st Century Bohemia expressed in Christy Lee Rogers’ ÉLAN, taking place at The Outsiders London this summer.
Credits: Costume Designer: Franzy Staedter | Performers: Dustin Walston, Benoit Beaufils, Sheila Burford, Eliana Girard, Colby Lemmo, David Mayorga, Marie Miller, Jordy Perry, Suwasit, Katy Tate | Special Thank You to Ryan Patrick Murphy, Joshua Schultz, Hank Emerson. Barry Iowin
The Outsiders Galleries, Newcastle and London
The Outsiders galleries sell affordable original works of art and limited edition prints from the Lazarides stable of artists. Emerging talents are also showcased alongside experimental and boutique projects from established names. The exhibition schedule focuses on work produced by artists who thrive “outside” of the orthodox gallery system. The Outsiders project was launched in 2008, with a group show in New York that attracted more visitors than a corresponding Gilbert and George retrospective at MOMA NY.
The two spaces in London and Newcastle upon Tyne occupy the sites of Lazarides’ original galleries. Having hosted some of the earliest gallery showcases by the likes of Banksy and Jonathan Yeo, and the first European exhibitions by American artists including David Choe, they boast a proud heritage on the contemporary urban art circuit. Artists exhibiting recently include Antony Micallef, Conor Harrington and Invader.
The book Outsiders is out now published by Thames & Hudson and the organisation is featured in Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. A dedicated print studio, Execution Dock in east London creates all the gallery’s editioned works. Incorporating the thriving online art store http://www.theoutsiders.net, The Outsiders welcomes over ten thousand visitors annually.
Lazarides is one of the world’s most influential galleries, with three permanent spaces and extensive high profile off-site activity. The group is dedicated to emerging international artists who defy categorisation, often existing outside of conventional artistic career structures. This vision has resonated with the general public and major collectors alike.
Founded in 2006 by Steve Lazarides, the gallery represents some of the most exciting and innovative artists working today including Antony Micallef, David Choe, JR, Vhils, Faile, Jonathan Yeo, Charlie Isoe, Conor Harrington, Ian Francis, Stanley Donwood, 3D, Invader, Zevs, Mode 2, Todd James /Reas, Blu, Paul Insect and BÄST.