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Captured with drama

SWAPNA SATHISHSWAPNA SATHISH

The images of the British digital designer and photographer Allan Parker speak of power and passion. They are part of an on-going exhibition of digital prints at Amethyst.

`INVISIBLE STATES' is an exhibition of a series of high-resolution digital prints featuring contemporary British Asian and non-Asian performers, including Akram Khan, Imlata, Kasuko Hohki, Jayachandran, Sanchita Pal and others.

The works of the British digital designer and photographer Allan Parker highlight the ways in which the traditional yet varied martial art forms of Kalaripayattu and Wu Shu can collaborate with the dance form of Bharatanatyam within a modern framework.

These images were primarily created as a response to requests by dance companies and artistic directors for publicity pictures to promote their work.

The photo-shoots became inspired opportunities and were approached as part of constructing creative imagery rather than merely as occasions to make pictures. The energetic figures of the dancers suggest the essence of the traditional performing art in a contemporary manifestation where the dance itself becomes the protagonist.

The dancers have been frozen in time and in movement, being re-contextualised in different backgrounds portrayed as if in flight. The figures assume a feigned weightlessness as they levitate and soar in the aesthetically engineered spaces. Parker exploits the unusual angles in which he has photographed the leaping dancers, thus generating a wonderful play of imagined insubstantiality.

The dancers are made to take centre stage with the bold images placed at atypical viewpoints with minimal background detailing.

A black and white print of a woman with a veena is powerful in its predominance of black. Only the zari of her sari and the veena are highlighted in white.

The simple composition assumes its power by the play of the angle of the veena. Most memorable in this series of prints is the mirror image of Akram Khan in a flowing black gown with an arm outstretched where the human form takes on newer revelation in the manipulated image creating an enigmatic yet eloquent silhouette.

The clean bold line is fluid and finite, lyrical and precise, with the form being novel and poetic, sinuous and cogent. The distinctive display adds to the enjoyment of the digital prints.

The constructed images are presented in the way Parker would prefer them to be seen, with the backgrounds he imagined them with.

These potent images speak of power and passion both of the dancer and the digital designer.

The exhibition at Amethyst opened with a live presentation of works from Attakalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore, with the digital prints remaining on display until March 17.

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