November 4 – December 18, 2004

Opening reception:
Thursday, November 4, 2004
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

ClampArt is pleased to announce “Dance: Photographs by Morten Nilsson,” the artist’s first solo show in the United States.

Morten Nilsson is a young, Danish artist originally trained as a photojournalist. For the past few years, however, Nilsson has been pursuing personal photography projects, including two portraiture series of amateur and professional dancers, which will be the focus of the exhibition at ClampArt.

The first body of work, “Dance,” is comprised of images of participants in ballroom dancing competitions. Nilsson attended a large number of such events and photographed contestants immediately upon their exit from the dance floor. Using a ring flash (commonly used in fashion work), the artist set his subjects against whatever backdrops he found available, from white brick walls and brown curtains to worn wood paneling and cement. The photographs produced are direct and unadorned with the subjects often situated frontally in the center of the frame looking directly into the camera’s lens. The blank, vacant stares of the sitters are set in contrast to their elaborate and over-wrought appearances, including dramatically coifed hairstyles and surprisingly severe stage make-up. Nilsson’s harsh and bright light-ing illuminates these dancers in such a way as to make them read as wax mannequins rather than real people. Nilsson’s lens exaggerates the already artificial, affected appearances of these young contestants. Nilsson’s strange subjects appear lifeless, no longer human, an allusion to the façades constructed and worn by people everyday.

The second body of work also focuses upon young participants in dance competitions. However, these subjects move to decidedly more contemporary beat. The title of the series is “Discoqueen.” Again, the subjects are photographed quite directly in a cool, detached, objective style. However, the discoqueens are all posed in front of a shockingly bright red background. The lighting is white neon—a soft and even, but bright and clear illumination. The dancers’ wild, shiny costumes and theatrical make-up are set-off by the vivid, monochromatic backdrop. Again, the dancers serve as symbols for the bizarre and hilarious lengths to which we all go in constructing personas particularly in adolescence.

For more information and images, please contact Brian Paul Clamp, Director, or see www.clampart.com. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.