On The Stage
Jenny Ping’s new work, currently hanging in Klaus, depicts a theatrical revelry of dance moves, bright costumes, and skin-hugging tights for an imaginary turn of the century ballet performed by dinosaurs — an homage to the legendary Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the art-savvy Russian impresario who brought the best of St. Petersburg’s youthful, hot studs to Paris in his operas and ballets. Clad in remarkable costumes rendered with impeccable artistic direction, Diaghilev’s creations were a success not unlike Ping’s motley cast of creatures. Ping doesn’t omit a single detail in her deft execution of each pretty ballerina with an elaborately designed costume. The dinosaurs fly through the air, contorting their graceful limbs in front of a decorated stage, replete with mountain backdrops and scenic backgrounds. Her dancers are actually “Dansaurs,” happy little creatures who celebrate life. If only we could hear the orchestral sounds the send these cute guys into flight.
Ping at once demonstrates the craft of a costume designer, art director, choreographer, and conductor in her work. She imparts her skill as a craftsman on her art, creating drawings, paintings and collages to reflect her vision and engage her technical virtuosity. For such a multifarious process, she clearly has her hands full. In Four Braider Dansaurs, the artist’s cast of characters wear stunningly decorated costumes that overlap in their pose, flattened over the entirety of the canvas with a subtle hinting at the illusion of space — reminding us that we’re looking at a stage, after all. The point, however, is to not reflect on spatial relations through movement, but rather to focus on the movement itself — not to mention reflecting on the silly antics of these creatures who dance their night away in ornate costume that only the luckiest of prom queens might ever hope for.
The Klaus von Nichtssagend space never ceases to entertain, this show included. Jenny Ping’s work is a perfect match for a gallery founded on the only principles that matter: art we want to see but simply don’t anywhere else.