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Spectre Solaire: Ballet de la Nuit

Three-chanel video, 2017


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 I, the choreography featured in the work is inspired by classical dance positions of the Royal Ballet, which combine together with gestures used by tourists to take photographs. The ballet dancer both observes and records through a dance, a portrait of Louis XIV displayed in the Louvre Museum. The image captures the moving dancer as she films the space on video, but also depicts at the same time the video taken from the camera controlled by the dancer, contrasting these two different perspectives together.

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