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Spectre Solaire: Ballet de la Nuit II




The three videos in the work stem from Yao Qingmei’s research on Portrait of Louis XIV (Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701) in the Louvre Museum and the display environment of this ‘official portrait’ of the king. The Latin etymology of the word ‘spectrum’ evokes an image as an apparition – drawing focus on the origins of ballet, which originally was used as a political instrument in the court of Louis XIV, as well as drawing attention to how the monarch consolidated his imperial autocratic power.

In Spectre Solaire: Ballet de la Nuit II, an opera singer performs an ‘exhibition guide tour’ in the form of a baroque-style aria. The performer is at the same time both solemn and comical like a character from the Royal Court. The spoken exhibition text comprises an analysis of the political symbolism and also introduces elements of intervention into the display room of the ‘Sun King’. The moving-image switches between reality and a theatrical space – viewed from the perspective of an observer, which follows the tour guide as they enter into the interior of a staged setting.

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