Endless dancing 1999
- Accession No.
- Date Created
- Dimensions A
610cm (diam., approx., installed)
- Media Category
- Secondary Media Category
Video installation, 8 Betacam tapes: 20 minutes, colour, stereo
- Place Created
- Credit Line
Purchased 2001. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Zhang Peili's interest in video lies in its value as a popular tool of communication and its artistic possibilities regarding the dimensions of time, movement, sound and image. His works may be viewed as video art, installation or sculpture, for he is conscious of the location of images, and the technology that delivers them in space. A primary concern is the meaning of time. Nothing, he says, stays the same. In Endless dancing, developed specifically for the 'Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (1999), Zhang Peili takes ballroom dancing as his subject. The voice of an instructor drills the filmed couples in dance techniques and proclaims the health benefits of this activity. The voiceovers are interspersed with the strident chords of Chinese military marching music. In China, ballroom dancing has become the popular form of socialising and morning exercise for the elderly. For the creation of the work, cameras were fixed at eight points in a circular configuration surrounding the amateur dancers. Couples moved in and out of the cameras' view. These images were then edited into footage of competition ballroom dancers. Zhang Peili records a range of perspectives in real time, suggesting many different realities and constant variation. In displaying the work, eight television monitors are placed in a circular configuration to simulate but invert the original filming process. The final presentation fragments the activity into infinite perspectives while offering a layered reality. The dancers, the voiced instructions and the music continue ceaselessly. Endless dancing refers to the cyclic nature of things while hinting at the absurdity of these repetitive actions. This work, like others in Zhang Peili's oeuvre, offers a metaphor for contemporary society: a nervous, psychotic response to change.
Essay adapted from Roberts, Claire. 'Zhang Peili: "Endless dancing" and other works' in Beyond the Future: The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art [exhibition catalogue], Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1999, p.44.
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