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Enter a Twilight Zone of Ballet-Turned Digital Art

Explore a cyclical time dimension in Claudia Hart’s new solo show, 'The Doll's House.'
Images courtesy the artist

A series of works examines time everlasting and the philosophical idea of “eternal return” through a bunch of carefully chosen historic elements in Chicago-based visual artist Claudia Hart's first solo exhibition with TRANSFER Gallery. Starting late April, The Doll's House adapts Hart's 2015 multimedia ballet, The Dolls, into a contemplative exhibition format.

Taking advantage of intense architecture studies, Hart bypasses issues of scale and medium by translating her ballet's essence to the physical environment. Combined with visionary notions towards aesthetics and art history, the result is both a complementary and standalone piece: “This resulted in my medium being in the creation of environments at a larger scale,” Hart tells The Creators Project. "It might be a gallery installation using both the gallery space and the individual art objects I create to build a world, or a piece of experimental theater, or dance. I create elements, whether media projections or physical objects, and then use them like a painter uses paint: to create a work. So the media ballet The Dolls uses the same 'paint,' as The Dolls House installation at Transfer Gallery, but is distinct,” she says, adding that it’s not a challenge for her any more than any artist faces when making any other artwork.


Never-seen-before videos, drawings, and sculptural 3D works with mesmerizing flickering elements fuse to create a dynamic and disorienting timeline. Bright, atemporal landscapes are filled with classic historical symbols and corporations’ logos and icons. This intended non-sensical digital patchwork not only brings together plenty of Google’s 3D Warehouse architectural models from different historical periods and civilisations, but even features a projection mapping of Velazquez’s classical Margaret Theresa tutus modeled in 3D alongside 3D printed sculptures.

Thus, each of the two projects, be they on stage or in the gallery, feed one another and facilitate the artworks’ interpretations. By initiating an algorithmic back-and-forth, she further explores the notion of being lost in time, playing with her viewers’ understandings. “One of the interesting things about tracking any artist, is watching the way her mind works, and in that, tracking the way the human mind generally works,” Hart tells us. “Watching me move from installation to ballet is like looking at a body of work by a painter or any other kind of process artist, there are limits to it that apply to both of these works, their emotional tenor is the same. But each work approaches that tenor from a different direction,” she adds.

To emphasize its immersive and disorienting dimension, the main video is sountracked by a dual-channel piece created by new media artist Kurt Hentschager. This sonic matter is a rethinking of Empire, a piece Hart did a few years ago which was inspired by The Course of Empire, a five-part series of paintings by Thomas Cole. “I commissioned the composer Ella Joyce Buckley to create music for that earlier work, and Kurt used it as a jumping off point for The Dolls ballet,” she explains. “The choreographer Kristina Isabelle and I partially designed the dancer’s body movements listening to Ella’s piece, and later, listening to Kurt’s integration of that work into his own. It was a dialectical process mirroring the process of history, what The Dolls is actually about—so it worked! Kurt and I are married and have a 20-year relationship, therefore our own history is a part of the work as well, because we live our work. That’s the process!”


The Show will be on view starting April 22 at TRANSFER Gallery.

Click here to learn more about the show and here to see more of Claudia Hart’s work.


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