Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage is an exhibition by Sydney-based – South Australian born – photographer, Lisa Tomasetti. This latest set of pictures were shot over several years, taken on the Australian Ballet’s tours to Tokyo, New York and Paris ::::
Exhibition dates: James Makin Gallery: Melbourne March 7-30, 2013, Salerno Gallery 70 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, NSW: April 14-28, 2013, Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide May 10 to June 8, 2013
Very cleverly, Tomasetti has removed the ballerinas from their stage – seemingly, almost setting them free – to pirouette and pliat through the city streets. These riveting images fuse the high gloss of stage performance with the grit and grime of urbanity. Tomasetti, while capturing the passion for movement embodied in the dancers has presented viewers with a wonderfilled out-of-context view of some of our most talented artists, she’s presented us with a brilliant fantasy.
“The series juxtaposes the classical form of the ballerinas against the urban landscape of these iconic cities,” Tomasetti, 42, said. “By removing the dancers from the controlled interior environment of the stage I wanted to contrast urban reality with performance, and create images with a quirky appeal.”
For me, the appeal is the fantastical sight of dancers in surrounds we as mortals won’t ever witness. Her pictures just pop with contrast, they truly must be seen to be believed. The mechanisations of wheeling a ballerina into a street and asking her to perform, is in itself a wonderful thought.
“The dancers are amazing, they are incredibly accommodating and they are really adventurous – and they’re fun.” Tomasetti said. “Now they are used to the fact that this is my side-project, so they are always up for it. I probably only get 15 or 20 minutes with them, because their schedule is so tight, so we just go somewhere near the theatre.”
Tomasetti has for more than 20 years made her living by capturing images on stage, set and screen productions, standing in the wings, diarising those spontaneous moments that rehearsals and performances only allow once. Her photographs have been used on iconic posters for such films as Scott Hicks’ breakthrough Shine and recent smash hit The Sapphires, as well as to promote Star Wars Episode Two, Dirty Deeds, Bad Boy Bubby and Kath & Kim.
“I dreamed up this project on the side,” explained Tomasetti, “of taking shots of the dancers out in the streets of these iconic cities to show the other side of the dancer’s life and hopefully to create humorous, quirky images that juxtapose the classical form against the urban landscape. I was interested in the juxtaposition between the delicate finery of the theatrical costumes against the grey hues of the city streets, as well as the day to day reality of city living against the high gloss unreality of theatrical performance. I wanted the oddness/quirkiness of removing the ballerinas from the controlled interior environment of the theatre and letting them loose to leap and pirouette on the streets.”
Tomasetti has just begun work on Wonderland – a new series for television starring Brooke Satchwell – and will be back for the second season of Puberty Blues.
“Over the years I’ve developed a strong friendship and trust with the dancers, they know what the shots involve and that the selection process for the final image will be approved by the artistic director. I aim to respect their brilliance and perfection as much as possible with my skills so they can be happy with the result.” Tomasetti said.
These spur of the moment – minimal staging shines in her images – urban shoots had superb reactions at the Makin Gallery opening of the exhibition, mouths were truly wide open.
James Makin Gallery: Melbourne March 7-30, 2013
67 Cambridge St, Collingwood
Victoria, Australia 3066
T +61 39416 3966
Salerno Gallery: April 14-28, 2013
70 Glebe Point Rd
Glebe, NSW Australia 2037
T +61 29660 0899
Hill Smith Gallery: May 10 to June 8, 2013
113 Pirie Street, Adelaide,
South Australia, Australia 5000
T +61 8 8223 6558
Costume design: Vanessa Leyonhelm and Kristian Fredrikson
Medium: Photograph – pigment print on archival rag paper
Ms Tomasetti’s Official Website:
Ms Tomasetti has exhibited extensively throughout Australia, and her work has is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, and the Checkhov Museum, Moscow. She was a finalist in the 2006 Archibald photo prize Art Gallery NSW and the 2009 National Portrait Gallery Photographic prize.
Born Australia 1970
1988 Bachelor Visual Arts, Photography, Cinematography, South Australian University, Underdale
1983 Bachelor Communication Studies, Literary Studies, Art, South Australian University, Magill
2009 Burnt Memory, Hoopers Art Gallery, London
2008 Unwritten Skin, Gallery 101, VIC
2007 Unwritten Skin, Byron McMahon Gallery, NSW
2007 1918 Artspace, Shanghai
2006 Of Blessed Memory, Gallery 101, Melbourne
2005 Vanilla and Misfortune, Byron McMahon Gallery, Sydney
2005 Vanilla and Misfortune, Gallery 101, Melbourne
2002 First Kiss, Monash Art Gallery, Melbourne, VIC; Byron Mapp Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2000 First Kiss, Volvo Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2000 Silent Breath, Stills Gallery, Sydney, NSW
1998 One, The Greenaway Art Gallery, S.A.; Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne; First Draft Gallery, Sydney
1996 Broken Places, Stills Gallery, Sydney, NSW; The Greenaway Art Gallery, S.A
1995 Thirst, Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
1995 Quench, Contemporary Art Centre, S.A.
1994 Piacere, The Greenaway Art Gallery, S.A.
1993 Passion, The Greenaway Art Gallery, S.A.
2007 Clearings, Gallery 101, Melbourne
1994 AGFA Photographic National Touring Exhibition, NSW
1993 Men in Space, Union Gallery, S.A.
1992 Recent Acquisitions, South Australian Art Gallery, S.A.
1992 Real Fictions, South Australian Art Museum, S.A.
2009 Finalist, National Portrait Gallery Photographic Prize, Canberra
2007 Finalist, Albury National Photographic Portrait Prize, Albury Regional Gallery, NSW
2007 Finalist, Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Caloundra Regional Art Gallery, QLD
2007 Finalist, The Inaugural William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art
2006 Finalist, Archibald Photographic Portrait Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
2005 Finalist – Gold Coast City Art Gallery Art Prize Australia
2005 Finalist – Albury Regional Art Gallery Art Prize
1993 Australia Council Studio, Besozzo, Italy
1991 Exhibition Materials Grant, S.A. Department for the Arts
1991 Travel Grant, S.A. Department for the Arts, Production Photographer, British Theatre Companies
2008 Gill, Harbant, ‘Nostalgic Daze of Innocence’, Herald Sun, April 2nd, p. 49.
2008 Upront, The Sunday Age, March 30, p. 5.
2007 Art Works, Capture Magazine, July/August, pp. 46-49
2007 Miles, Melissa, Unwritten Skin, Exhibition Catalogue
2006 Gill, Harbant, ‘Inner Child Brought to Life’, The Herald Sun, 26 June
2006 Miles, Melissa, The Darkened Tomb of Memory, Eyeline Magazine #59, pp. 16-18.
2005 Power, Liza, ‘Selective Memory’, The Age Metro, 16 March
2005 Backhouse, Megan, ‘From Girl to Woman’, The Age, 19 March
2005 Webb, Penny, ‘In the Dark’, The Age Metro, 18 March
2002 Lisa Tomasetti, First Kiss, a black and white photographic portrait, published by Allen and Unwin
Monash Gallery of Art, VIC
Western Australian Art Gallery
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Albury Regional Art Centre, NSW
South Australian Art Gallery, S.A.
Photographs from the production of ‘The Seagull’ by the State Theatre Company, selected for the Chekhov Museum, Moscow.