The Choreography of Cutting

Sally Smart

The Choreography of Cutting

2014, studio installation views in preparation for the exhibition

Dark Heart 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art,

South Australian Art Gallery, Adelaide, Australia



Performance: The Choreography of Cutting

Choreographer and dancer Brooke Stamp performing a dance work - responding to Sally Smart's installation
The Choreography of Cutting (Spring) and performed in her installation space at the 2014 Adelaide Biennial,
Art Gallery of South Australia, on May 11, 2014

The work is a continuation of Sally Smart's in dance, performance and choreography. The Choreography of Cutting (Spring) , along with her earlier work The Log Dance (2012) and In Her Nature (2011) is a weave of modernist references and abstractions of documentation from various performances; in particular Martha Graham’s dance work, Appalachian Spring (1944).  

Smart’s large-scale wall-assemblages characteristically comprise interconnected collaged elements including fabric, canvas, embroidery, silk-screened and photographic parts.  Smart’s own manipulation of material, pattern and texture, describe a push/pull between human features and natural elements, as the exchange between bodies and objects depicts unseen forces. Rendering not only the physical aspects of performance visible, Smart also partially reveals aspects fraught psychological play and internal conflict.

Within the work, time is depicted as a pale disjointed grid or stage-like structure comprised of a striated and patterned braid of uprooted trees, logs, patterned tree bark. The adjoining line-work, projects the figures in mid-gesture, into the foreground of the work. Segmented and fragmented, the figures engage in a dance, which is felt and explosive. Smart’s construction of each body is laid bare, where pins, stitches and cut marks also indicate broken and contorted limbs. As a leitmotif, logs, uprooted trees and tree bark within The Log Dance, also point to’ lopped nature’, where truncated and distorted limbs are set in permanent motion. 
Smart's  process-oriented practice  involves cutting, collage, photo-montage, stitching and pinning, all of which have historical and political associations with the traditional activities of women. Smart characteristically subverts these hierarchies and her methodology of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction within the installation space, are integral to the conceptual unfolding of the work.