3-D Kinetic Painting
The Cosmic Dancer is not only a sculptural object but also a 3-D painting. Not only does every angle provide another geometric composition, the colour composition is also in a state of perpetual change. The fact that the Cosmic Dancer is a "painted" object is often overlooked and ignored but it is essential to the meaning of the work itself.
My painting technique was initially inspired by particle physics research and, simply stated, I use points of color as a metaphor of the components of the sub-atomic cosmos, calligraphic lines signifying energy and motion, and geometric shapes as a metaphor for our approach to knowledge based on science and mathematics. Sscientists such as Fritjof Capra in his book "The Tao of Physics" has shown that our universe is interconnected and interdependent and that the insights of contemporary physics could be compared to the teachings eastern mystic religions.
Sub-atomic particles condensing momentarily and transitorily into a specific form or experience is how I perceive the real world and this is the underlying message of all of my painting, be it abstract or realistic. Many years ago I incorporated these insights into my painting technique and, today, I use a variation of this technique in the production of my current hyper-realistic paintings.
The Cosmic Dancer was painted in this manner. Thus it has a "cosmic quality" for the reasons of why and how it was painted.
Voyager Series, 1990
Acrylic on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm
The Voyager Series depicted multi-dimensional universes of color and geometric shape. Having no specific top or bottom, these two-dimensional shaped canvases created three-dimensional illusions which changed perspective when hung in different positions. This artistic exploration led to a series of painted three-dimensional works such as the one below. Like to Voyager paintings this sculpture may be placed in a number of different positions.
Reclining Dancer - 1996
Acrylic on Wood, 25 x 28 x 57 cm
The "green" colour scheme was specifically chosen to add a positive psychological aspect to the cosmonauts' somewhat drab environment which was relatively devoid of this colour which has obvious association with the nature back on Earth. Also the contrasting colour scheme was also selected as very suitable for the video. In addition, as an abstraction of something physical, if one is needed, the name Cosmic Dancer is also inspired by the Hindu god Shiva also often referred to as the Cosmic Dancer with its multiple arms and legs dancing the dance of creation.The cosmonauts, on their own initiative responded to this artistic intervention in a creative and playful way. They also took the artistic experiment very seriously as evidenced by the perceptive comments they returned.
Cosmonauts Alexander Polischuk and Gennadi Mannakov
Dancing with the Cosmic Dancer
In the words of Cosmonaut Alexander Polischuk : "....contemplating the sculpture turning in weightlessness while listening to music results in an effect which is possibly totally unknown on Earth. It is difficult to describe this effect. "
On this level, it appears that a human being actually living in space has gained some new insight into his experience via this art work. Seeing two adult human males playfully dancing with an inanimate object is not something one would expect to see happen on Earth. Beyond this entertaining aspect, I truly believe the video of the Cosmic Dancer set to classical music provides normal viewers with an emotional experience of "what it is like" or "what it could be like" for humans to live in space.