“Dance is a visual art.” Merce Cunningham
AT THE BEAUBOURG
Robert Rauschenberg: Express
IN THIS grey scale canvas we see images surrounding the dancers of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Images of what? Racehorses with jockeys; men rappelling down a cliff; some harmonious and beautiful naked bodies; something that looks like a an underwater creature or perhaps the human brain; a city on the water, with piers reaching out from the shores; and to the lower right, an end to war: Grant and Lee at the conclusion of the Civil War that rent the United States. E pluribus unum. In the equilibrium of the canvas, these disparate items are unified as the product of an original mind. A singular mind.
You can see the images as an assemblage of unlike elements co-existing, and you can see the dancers among them representing beauty–and grace itself. Tilting at gravity, they embody the ability to fly through the air under one’s own power.
Or, you can see the dancers apart–find them to be a beautiful refuge, as art can be, from the world and its various clamors. They draw your eye, and into the canvas you fall, and all the rest is left behind. Outside. You’re in here. Inside the painting, or inside the dance.