Ashley McDonald

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I was fortunate enough to attend the open rehearsals of Temporary Title, 2015 last Thursday and see the creative process of Xavier Le Roy. There was an instant connection to his work as I was captivated by its sheer visual beauty. The exhibition space was transformed into a moving sculpture of translucent flesh. The performers’ graceful bodies remodeled their size and shape as they travelled their journey solo, in pairs or as a pride. My initial reaction to the work was the same as when I’m entrenched in the natural world, something that is vital for our own internal rhythm as human beings.

As the exhibition continued I began to notice the performers’ small gestures seemed very familiar to me. Lions are my son’s favourite animal, and I have spent literally hundreds of hours watching them at zoos all over Australia, as well as in animal documentaries. Their body language is strong, dignified and unique. As the performers puffed out their chests, walked proudly on their knuckled fists and gazed with grandness in their stance, fond memories of my own lion encounters began to unfold. There were also playful qualities embraced: nuzzling, pawing and lazing with each other as well as moments when simply the grasslands of their home blew gently in the wind.

I took my son to Kenya last year to fulfill his life long dream of seeing lions in their natural habitat. I remember taking a moment to absorb the surroundings into every cell of my body and into my soul. I did not want to forget this moment of elation, as it was a different level of joy to anything I had ever felt before. I wondered how I would be able to recreate this feeling again when I went back to reality: Temporary Title triggered this sensation in my consciousness.

I know the reaction I had to Temporary Title will be very different to that of others. As much as I love living in our modern world at times it is without substance, quite isolating and lacks connection to nature. I will be going back for the finished exhibition next week for further escapism from the city on the other side of the windows. Hopefully I’ll get to converse with a lion this time, as I have many wonderful stories about my time in Kenya to share with them.

Thank you to Xavier Le Roy, Scarlet Yu, the performers and of course John Kaldor and staff for this once in a life time experience.

-Ashley McDonald, visitor to the open rehearsal 12 November, 2015