Portraits in motion
October 5, 7pm – October 6, 7am, 2019,
Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles, Paris
This year’s theme for Nuit Blanche in Paris is “En Mouvement”. This is the first time I’m participating. In line with this year’s theme, I’m exhibiting nude video portraits from my series INCARNATION. Stillnes is at the center of each of these portraits, but the stillness of a living being is never completely still. A video portrait makes it possible to highlight the subtle motion that is the essence of life even in the quietest moments.
The Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles is an historic Parisian swimming pool in the heart of the 13th arrondissement. During Nuit Blanche, the pool will be open to swimmers during regular hours, but not all visitors are required to swim.
Gender and identity are critical issues in our time. With this project I’m exploring issues of gender, privacy, health, aging and ageism, and environment. Each person brings the story written in their body. When two or more people are portrayed together, their relationship is also part of the story.
The nudity of the subjects is critical to these portraits. We spend most of our time clothed both literally and metaphorically. Beaches and swimming pools are the closest we get to nudity in public. Even in private, nudity is a minimal part of our day. In these portraits, nudity is the canvas on which I paint my vision with layers of video. I know each of the subjects personally, and that knowledge informs the layering of imagery and context that redresses each person with dignity in their own unique environment. Young or old, nudity foregrounds the beauty of unmediated physicality. In the editing process I am re-clothing the subjects in environments shaped around the story we create together.
Subjects include an opera singer in Houston who showed me the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2016; a 90-year-old woman who wanted people to see that at her age she has a functioning, whole body (in her words) that she is proud to show – with all its “imperfections” and despite cultural taboos; a seeker and body worker who is currently moving into working with hospice patients; a woman who recently had a double mastectomy and is learning to accept that the body can incorporate additions and subtractions without losing its integrity; a family whose extreme commitment to a low- impact, ecological lifestyle is an example and an inspiration; a mother, a breast cancer survivor, and her adult daughter whose relationship embodies a universal range of love and conflict; three generations of actors, spanning the ages 25-87 – mother, daughter, grandmother – coming together in my studio in a celebration of love and time; a Californian “witchy woman” and her two dogs. Each is ordinary and extraordinary in their own way.