Silent Music

silver gelatin print, variable dimensions, 1995 - 1996 

"The photographing of dance off of the stage is the underlying idea of the images created by Fabian and this decision made it necessary to approach the subject not so much as a show form, but rather as a way to perceive corporeity.

The professional dancer, like the athlete, must have a much deeper awareness of his own body than that of other individuals.This affirmation may seem a bit absurd, in that the essential condition of a human being consists in having a body with which to move, suffer, love and think. Yet, considering the question from a slightly different point of view we realize that, by simply living in our bodies, our daily perceptions of the same tend to be more passive than active,and that we become directly aware of the body’s presence in only a few moments of our day and that, also in those moments we are not prepared to fully use the potential that it contains. The dancer, on the other hand, who expresses himself solely with the body and without his voice, must be able to pull forth from his body the maximum amount of its expressive capacity, he must be able to dominate its expressions to the point where it is an automatic process, just as breathing is automatic.

Thus, as for the subjects of her photographs, a dance movement is light and natural as breathing, Fabian has understood how to reveal the same in her images.

Beginning with a casual knowledge of dance, Fabian soon undertook a course of research into it, which led to her meeting diverse people and establishing an almost symbiotic relationship with them. The knowledge that the dancers possess of their bodies and the ability to move harmoniously has been perfectly captured and transferred to images that convey the visual form into the equivalent of musical rhythm.

Of a certainty the professionalism obtained through fashion photography, where the clothed body becomes the protagonist, supplied the necessary foundation to Fabian to comprehend the worth of corporeality. But these images could never have come into existence without the direct complicity of the dancers. The fundamental difference between this series of photographs and traditional images, taken at a theater during a performance, comes from the fact that this time the rapport of the photographer and the artist is immediate and the difference of their roles no longer separates the one from the other. Neither does the insurmountable barrier of the stage interpose itself between them. Each of them make use of the medium of space and the dancer does not interpret an audible theme, as in the theater, but follows an internal music known only to himself. In this situation there is no choice for the photographer but to renounce the documentation of dancing forms, and to render the body of the subject as the absolute vision, attempting to attune the secret rhythm to his movements, and to translate them into images which are each very different, just as artistic personalities, corporeal forms and performance locations are different.

Only by taking into account this condition is it possible to understand how bodies in motion, sometimes flickering like the flame of a candle blown by the wind, alternate with solid and immobile figures which are as powerful as classical sculptures. They are not and do not desire to be simple photographs of the carnal form, amounting to nude aestheticism, rather they are images of suspended animation. They are visual representations of the pause between one beat and the next in that silently shared musical which is alert to the tension that belongs together with the movement just concluded and that which is about to begin.

The alternation of color and black and white images is another of the linguistic instruments used by Fabian in her work. And because color is conventionally perceived to be more adherent to realistic representation and black and white with the symbolic, she has in some cases destroyed these perceptive values by using the techniques of blurring or hazing, which slightly diminish the realistic quality of the image .

The aim of Fabian’s photographs is, indeed, to give visual form to an abstract concept, to the silently communicated harmony of a body in rhythmic motion."

 

Massimo Mussini

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