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Rosemary Butcher, Festival of Miniatures – Lapped Translated Lines review at Lilian Baylis Studio Sadlers Wells London

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This is Rosemary Butcher’s contribution to her series of conceptual chamber works that form her Festival of Miniatures. The free pre-show event, Destructive Navigations, is an exercise in shifting perspective as well as (perhaps) a commentary on the remorselessness of physical labour. A trio of performers push three Doric columns on wheeled platforms back and forth in front of a screen depicting the fuzzy image of Butcher’s primary muse, Elena Giannotti, who is apparently attempting to rise after a particularly strenuous yoga session.

Giannotti appears in the flesh in Lapped Translated Lines along with a video projection of herself moving in and out of an overlapping sequence of movements that echo without quite mirroring her live gestures. Trapped in a kind of architectural fretwork, suggesting a skeletal boat, she moves along a set of lines in a variety of postures and modes, sometimes upright, sometimes crawling, sometimes sliding along the floor like a reptile. Above her, her doppelganger (framed behind a metal grid) performs similar movements, though the camera increasingly focuses on her feet, hands and face as the piece progresses. As our focus switches back and forth from the live performer to the filmed one, it unleashes a spectral sensuality that slinks across the stage like a third character – possibly the spectator himself.

As an interpreter of Butcher’s densely textured conceptual language, Giannotti is sublimely committed, and while neither piece can be read easily, they both offer several possible avenues of exploration. For work of this fat-free minimalism it is an impressive achievement.

Production Information

Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, London, September 23-October 3

Cathy Lane
Rosemary Butcher
Rosemary Butcher
Elena Giannotti, Angelina Jandolo, Andrew Graham, Andrea Samain, Else Turnemyr, Fenella Kennedy
Running time
1hr 10mins

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