On entering the space a great sense of anticipation is built for Vanishing Point, as you enter the sparse Meat Market space in the dark. Dimly light, mostly with the eerie green of exit signs and a few choice white spotlights, the space feels big, empty, eerie to the point of haunted. The ushers bear torches, and there is a great energy in the air for the show, and for the excitement of the audience in this large, less conventional space.
This lends itself to wonderful silhouettes created with minimal use of white light, which was striking against the vast dark space. Enter Shian Law, choreographer, dancer, and presenter of this piece, in a lovely piece of dancing in silence and silhouette, who begins to introduce the two year journey that became this piece.
The main feature of this performance is a mixed media presentation of video and film, a documentary on the creation of art and the artistic process, comparing young painter to older choreographer, and playing off the differences in motivation, persistence, work ethic and process between the two different generations of artists. This show presents a question of ‘What is art?’, ‘What is it to be an artist?’, and presents them through filmed and photographed interviews, dance and letters read out in a very non linear fashion.
The show claims to be about preservation in art, and asks questions about “who’s show is this?” and of authenticity, and the multiple folds that frame a portrait of a contemporary artists. For me, I didn’t get this at all from the show. The documentary felt fake and staged, instead of an observation of artistic process. I felt the show deeply explored what it is to be an artist, the struggle and process of creating art, and asks ‘What is art?’ and ‘When does art become art, or stop being art?’. I felt it explored mortality, the fleetingness of life and careers and art, and had a great sense of untimely death, which was strong at the start and then forgotten throughout the piece. It’s a deeply scattered piece that shows vignettes into the life of different artists coming from different generations and the work ethic, and systems and values of that.
The whole thing feels a little bit like a high school media presentation, with a large part of the audience laughing along and understanding a lot more than I did – it felt a bit like the show was an in joke for the collaborators and their networks, so it may be hard for the general public to follow and interpret the work. With the very shaky camera work, and the unfinished feel to the piece, the piece feels very self indulgent, and also examines the vanity, potential pretentiousness and pride of artists. The film showed the painter and the dance constantly using art and culture buzz words, and each nodding along without really seeming to understand each others work, perspective or point to what they were each saying.
The piece culminates in a stunning but perhaps not well thought out dance in a stream of pink paint- visually stunning, and combining all the elements of the film into a final piece, but leaving the audience gagging on fumes as the hall is not well ventilated enough for the length of time that paint is sprayed.
Tickets are available to the limited season at: http://dancemassive.com.au/program/vanishing-point/