David Michalek: Figure Studies (4 stars)

Slo-mo studies of every-day movement make imperfection blur into beauty

David Michalek: Figure Studies

There’s something heroic about David Michalek’s three-screen sequel of sorts to his similarly-styled ‘Slow Dancing’ triptych of larger-than-life slo-mo studies of dancers in motion, first seen in 2007. Where in that piece five blink-and-you’ll-miss-em seconds were stretched out to ten minutes of extended play performed by professionals, the choreography applied here is to a more diverse array of long, short, tall and less whippet-like physiques.

Seen largely naked, acting out routines of every-day movement, Michalek’s subjects – a woman with a double mastectomy, a bearded old man shifting bags of cement in his Y-fronts – become monumental pin-ups striking a pose, as every sinew and twitch is accentuated and buffed into shape.

As a conscious form of homage to and reinvention of cinematic and photographic techniques pioneered in the 19th century by Eadweard Muybridge, Michalek’s film may look as glossy as a coffee-table magazine spread made flesh. As each figure blurs into the next, however, there’s a strength beyond the seductively hypnotic display, as imperfection blurs into beauty en route.

Summerhall, Edinburgh, until Thu 27 Sep

David Michalek: Figure Studies

A newly commissioned work by an artist who specialises in recording lovingly high-resolution and slowed-down footage of the body in motion. Figure Studies is a tribute to the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge and records the bodies of ordinary people in action; Slow Dancing focuses on professional dancers. Part of…


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