Eadweard Muybridge (Kingston upon Thames 1830-1904) was one of the World’s most innovative photographic pioneers, whose studies of humans and animals in motion played a critical role in the history of photography and the moving image. Muybridge in Kingston is an exciting partnership between Kingston University and the Royal Borough of Kingston that is celebrating and investigating the Kingston Museum Muybridge Bequest. As part of a special programme of exhibitions and events accompanying the first major UK retrospective of Muybridge’s career at Tate Britain, the Stanley Picker Gallery is celebrating his achievements through the eyes of two contemporary artists, Trevor Appleson and Becky Beasley, providing us with 21st Century perspectives on the Museum’s world-class collection.
Trevor Appleson’s ambitious new film and sound installation Dance of Ordinariness, was inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s famous collotype sequences of human figures in motion. The work was developed through a residency undertaken by the artist at The London Contemporary Dance School, where he invited dancers to reinterpret actions that relate, directly and indirectly, to the various visual narratives that Muybridge himself built into his original motion studies. The resulting film-installation is an absorbing work that combines incidental gesture and choreographed movement to explore the interrelationships between performer and observer, author and human subject.
Although Appleson’s work to date may have informally echoed aspects of Muybridge’s iconic practice – documenting momentary actions and dramatic incidents in semi-staged environments – the artist acknowledges that the opportunity to make work in direct response to the Kingston collection both focused his awareness of these existing parallels, whilst breaking open the possibilities for him to work for the very first time with moving image:
“Looking at Muybridge’s work I was struck by the dramatic devices he employed, the miniature narratives he was telling through the collotypes. Pre-cinema, this must have seemed so radical to audiences…telling stories through sequences of images, taken fractions of a second apart. I started considering the ways in which this might function within my own work, and began to think about introducing a kind of simple choreography of the everyday…”
Trevor Appleson is a self-taught photographer represented by Hales Gallery London. He has recently held solo shows at Hales Gallery and The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and been previously commissioned by The Jerwood Foundation, London. His books ‘Los Loss’ (2008) and ‘Free Ground’ are published by Booth-Clibborn Editions.
An accompanying display of previous work by Trevor Appleson was currently exhibited at The Rose Theatre, Kingston during the exhibition.