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January 27, 2012 9:06 pm
The annual London International Mime Festival is a broad church, as this show, from Australian artist Fleur Elise Noble, demonstrates. How to categorise it? Is it visual theatre, cinema, art installation or a combination of all three? In fact, trying to pin it down would probably be unwise as the show’s originality lies in the fact that it plays with perception and is constantly breaking boundaries.
Noble notes in the programme that drawing is the base “from where and through which I explore other things” and for this piece she fills the stage with flat planes and litters the floor with screwed-up balls of paper. To one side of the stage is a huge black and white photographic image of an empty living room, at the back of the stage there’s a blank black screen and on a chair downstage stands a cut-out of the artist herself that, once the show begins, starts to move.
She steps out of the cut-out and reappears, first on the screen at the back, using a large mop to wipe away the black and reveal a drawing of a man, then trudging into the living room to brighten it up with her mop. But the sketched man decides to move, appearing to climb out of the flat plane and then reappear on a scrap of paper elsewhere on the stage. This sets the pattern for the evening as Noble, mop in hand, travels about the set trying to keep control of her creations, both sketches and filmed puppets, as they climb out of their confines and scurry to other surfaces.
Through a combination of drawing, puppetry and projected film, images travel from one flat surface to another. Two-dimensional creations appear to become three-dimensional; static drawings move; walls are peeled away. It’s intriguing, playful and has its own idiosyncratic aesthetic. At one point we watch a film of Noble pursuing her own runaway cut-out down the street.
The show continually manipulates perspective, questions ways of seeing and gives a quirky insight into the mind of the artist and her relationship with her own creations. But, at only 40 minutes long, it feels, for all its skill and originality, a little slight. It would be interesting to see where Noble takes this approach next and whether she harnesses it to explore issues other than creativity itself.
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