The assemblage embroideries were created from digitally cutting up photographs of costumes designed by avante garde artists of early modernism (Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Natalia
Goncharova and Mikael Larionov), for the Ballets Russes. Smart's initial inspiration for this group of works came from learning that costumes of the Ballets Russes were often literally cut-up for resizing and economy. Smart took to making her own versions of the costume by reconstituting fragmented images into new compositions rendered two dimensionally, and pinned (her familiar methodology) to the gallery wall. Her intervention in the embroidery assemblage, literally with sculptural elements and text, abstractly and psychologically suggest artefacts of performance and the trace of a body (in history, in culture.)
The embroideries were developed while on residency in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Living in South East Asia Smart is perfectly situated to work with artisans and to conceptually explore her interest in shadow puppets through the wayang kulit tradition too.
This heightened her awareness of the Ballets Russes influence of the East on their Western representation (Orientalism). Smart was able to develop her assemblage costume cut-ups, with embroidery interpretation made by Indonesian artisans.
Signature: in verso
About Sally Smart
Australian, b. 1960, Quorn, South Australia, Australia, based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia