For Glasgow International 2012, Los Angeles based artist Kelly Nipper (b. Edina, MN, 1971) is a media artist based in Los Angeles who explores the concepts and physical dynamics of time, space, and motion within the context of communication studies and technology. Drawing inspiration from the artistic practices of Merce Cunningham, Janet Frame, Rudolph Laban, and Ayn Rand, she often reinvents her works in different media or time continuums, using the layering and expansion of materials and forms to contextualize, address, and frame her ideas.
Nipper has created an ambitious work for Tramway’s main gallery entitled Black Forest, which incorporates elements of dance, textiles, and print. A group of dancers, Blue Mountain Volunteers, organised by the artist for this exhibition, perform daily routines that use scales of movement found within the geometry of the five Platonic solids. By tracing the various forms and repeating the choreography, the dancers are inscribing the form of the work by essentially carving space.
Functioning in part as an existing location and an organising principle the Black Forest is a site of industry where the pairing of myth and reality is assembled. The forest is a concept the artist often returns to in her work; a delineated space in which the natural growth process of the indigenous matter sets the composition. A central theme or common thread throughout the work is that the body’s movement is the most basic and fundamental as well as immediate pathway of communication.
Many aspects of the project incorporate the formal attributes of the five Platonic solids, which were identified by movement theorist Rudolph Laban when describing his ideas on space. Laban’s notation system for human movement explored ideas of motion in connection with the environment, and spatial patterns based on the complex geometry of crystals and the human skeleton.
Black Forest is co-commissioned by Tramway for the Glasgow International Festival 2012, and Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland where it will take place during 2013.
Image Credits: Kelly Nipper, Black Forest, 2012
Lead Dancer and Rehearsal Director: Marissa Ruazol
Laban Movement Analysts: Ed Groff and Sarah Leddy
Glasgow Dancers: Lucy Boyes, Charlotte Jarvis, Rosalind Masson, Penny Chivas
Costume Designer: Leah Piehl
Glasgow Assistant Costume Designer: Iona Barker
Production Assistants: Sean Flaherty and Claire Nereim
Glasgow Production Assistant: Harriet Bolwell
Photography Production: Jason Tlush Studio, Los Angeles
Courtesy of the artist and Tramway, Glasgow
Photo credit: Keith Hunter
Co-commissioned by Tramway for the Glasgow International Festival 2012, Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA