Dance Circle with Ribbon

Commissioned for the Dining Room of a house on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, this Alto Relievo panel is mounted along the whole wall of the room and runs alongside the length of the Dining table.

‘Dance Circle with Ribbon’ sits on bespoke museum brackets manufactured in mild steel which both support the piece and further communicate that sense of weighty presence. The piece not only requires these fixings but benefits from them as you are reminded of museum and antiquarian artefacts reminiscent of the fragments in the British Museum or Sir John Soane Museum.

Inspired by architectural fragments and stone tablets, it is both sculptural in its tactile quality and pictorial in its imagery. The piece does not overwhelm the room it is situated in as it relates directly to the architectural materials of it’s environment. Here a specifically blended Portland stone Jesmonite casting plaster was used to make the cast so the tone of the piece is sympathetic to the space, harmonises with the local stone and works sympathetically with the existing refined interior.

I saw the original Matisse ‘The Dance 1906’ for the first time in 2008 at the Royal Academy of Arts when it formed part of the controversial ‘From Russia’ exhibition. In every sense, this is a huge painting. Immediately it is clear that every reproduced image does no justice to the colour; that ultimately Matisse’s ‘Dance’ is all about this hot, vibrant contrast in colour and the fluidity and energy of line and shape; the relationship between the figures, and the movement within the composition.

Inspired by this painting, and by these fragments of antiquity, ‘Dance Circle with Ribbon’ explores the claustrophobia, heat and energy of the dance within the circular rhythmic movement of the joining of hands. The naked female figures are connected by a thin ribbon. The ribbon, like a cord or rope, joins, links and connects all the individuals in the circle visually driving the eye around and around the composition. This ribbon is held, draped and fluidly connects everyone as a symbol of unity.

This piece recalls memories of a mysterious antiquarian past that you think you have seen before. It reminds you clearly of Matisse’s composition but coupled with of an ancient Greek or Roman relic, a fragment of history, and of that early 1930’s fluidity of line/ form of a Lalique vase.