Partition: A Contemporary Ballet Solo

07.08.86

Partition: A Contemporary Ballet Solo, was a performance, performance sculpture, or Dance-Performance by Bruce McLean, directed and photographed by David Ward, which took place at Fruitmarket during the Edinburgh Festival 1986. The performance was in parallel with the exhibition Bruce McLean at the Scottish Gallery, 94, George Street, Edinburgh.

The performance elements:
Eight to ten rectangular panels or partitions of varying proportions, painted uniformly in three tones of neutral pale greys.
One Kodak Carousel slide projector with eighty slides. The slides were 35mm slide mounts with aluminium apertures of varying shapes and proportions including rectangles, triangles and discs.

The performance structure:
The performance took place down the length of the upper gallery of the Fruitmarket as it was then configured. The audience were seated at one end, looking down the length of the gallery to the sculptural rectangular panels, each balanced to stand vertically on one edge, arranged in a composition and positioned at the opposite end of the space.
Between that structure and the audience one panel was placed horizontally on the floor together with the slide projector sitting directly on the floor.

The performance:
Bruce McLean, in white shirt and trousers, entered, occupying the spaces in and around the standing panels. David Ward, similarly dressed, had already entered and was laying flat on the horizontal panel in front of the audience, to operate the slide projector.
The only light source in the gallery was the slide projector. Ward changed the slides at a moderate to slow pace while McLean moved between the panels, pausing in various positions or poses. McLean lifted, re-positioned and held various panels at angles while Ward changed the slides so that McLean body positions and the compositions of panels were illuminated by the various hard-edged abstract shapes of white light.

The performance consisted entirely of McLean’s continuous, physical re-configuring of the panels or partitions and the framing of these actions; re-composing his movements and pauses within the re-framing device of the projected light forms.

The performance lasted for approximately 20 minutes.

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