Landed in Leeds about 4pm and within 90 minutes was swept up in Junctureville…
First up The Tetley aka the house that beer built (and I thought it was tea!). The gallery only opened Nov 29 last year. I like what I saw. Ditto the way the space was used for performance in a space tucked away beside a blacked-out stairway.
Annie Hanauer tottered in regally on platform shoes with red-fringed boat-like appendages. Sheathed in pale orange, with green sleeves and an iridescent purple bodice that wrapped round her neck, her admirably statuesque figure was topped by headband and bright orange fright wig. A fashionista clown-diva. A Day-Glo Norma Desmond, eyeballing the camera.
Yes, a camera is what she related to. Not us. Herself instead or, rather, the revealing eye of the little machine. So there she was live but beside her, separated dimensionally only by her own tall and blurry shadow in profile and cast upon the wall, her face in close-up. A real-time portrait caught in an oblong frame.
‘I’m ready for my close-up, Ms Anderson!’ Anyone who knows and cherishes or even relishes Sunset Boulevard will get this reference, and if you don’t then put that title at the top of your films-to-see list. Anyway, this is my reference. For the choreographer of this Candoco commission, Lea Anderson, the inspiration was Elizabethan-era portraits in miniature. That’s why it’s called Miniatures. But given that this is 2014 Anderson utilises the technology available. Thus we have Hanauer’s grand dame on film.
She’s so self-conscious. And knowing, and imperious, and frivolous by the very nature of her garb, and mischievous, and yet wide-eyed too. She’s her own doll, her own mannequin, her own construct. And she has a secret. Is it, perhaps, that there really is nothing in her head at all? She’s right there before us yet distant, unknowable. In her own camera-conscious world, accompanied by a score (but by whom?) with the feel of a formalised carnival – toy-like, electronic, organ and – at least once – what sounded like a harp. Carnivalesque and celestial, perhaps. The music stops and the bright light cast upon her goes out and she has a bit of a breather. Like a model, she is. A little silly and a little mad. I noted that she almost never opened her lipsticked mouth, and then only just a bit. She twisted it some, but her main feature was her eyes. Big lashes… batty, even. Subtle grimacing. Flickering expressions as she gesticulated. Minimal movement, with just a touch of kick-shuffle to the side on those ridiculous platforms. The most ‘violent’ choreography was her bending forward fast and rising again, each time with a new look on her kisser. For all that she remained imperturbably unassailable, trapped by her own gaze yet in control.
I enjoyed this solo even if I confess I grew a bit bored with it, waiting for a revelation that never arrived. She is what she is, this oddball almost-fantasy figure. Straddling eras. At home in none.