Thursday, August 17, 2006

the flying trapeze

Tumbling Series
For the past few years, I've been quite obsessed with circus performers and the flying trapeze. They represent to me all of the vulnerabilities of the human body and psyche. At the same time, they exhibit a power of the mind & body—when faced with these vulnerabilities—to transform in protection against them. Extreme circustances allow for extreme transformations. Much like a chameleon or an actress on the stage, when faced with danger, we put up a front or put on a protective layer, or mask, to distance ourselves from being vulnerable. It's really all just a form of theater.

Recently, I came across a 5-part ink sketch I painted in college called "Tumbling Series." The pictures illustrate the fall of a trapeze artist in quick succession as she metamorphoses into a beautiful tragic form. She’s falling, but she could also be flying, or even jumping. It’s difficult to say. I decided to paste a picture of myself on top of one of those drawings, and with a little manipulation it fit surprisingly well, just like a mask.

At that moment, I felt the significance of being fully—albeit somewhat superficially—in control.

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