February 12 – March 14, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
6.00 – 8.00 p.m.
ClampArt is pleased to present “Desperately Perfect”—a selection of new photographs by artist, Rachel Papo.
Papo traveled to the renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, in order to shoot “Desperately Perfect.” Having studied ballet herself for nine years as a young girl, the artist’s vision is one of ambivalence. She vacillates between reverence and detachment when capturing sight of the frustration and struggle inherent in the intensely competitive world of ballet. These students begin studying at the school at age ten, but can be expelled at any time should they be deemed the wrong height, weight, or body type. Papo’s photographs are a record of the preparation and often futile struggle which audiences rarely see. While some of the world’s most celebrated dancers have emerged from the school, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, for example, most of these students can look forward to little more than a life of low pay and hard work. As Papo writes, “[T]hese students obsessively strive for a level of perfection that is always out of reach.”
Rachel Papo’s work has been exhibited internationally, and is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Griffin Museum of Photography, Wincester, Massachusetts; and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center; among others.