A KEBYAR DUDUK DANCER 3
MOVING TOWARDS ABSTRACTION
Kebyar Duduk is a solo exhibition dance first created by a Balinese dancer named I Ketut Mario for a Kebyar gamelan orchestra performance. This is the third exclusive figure of the above. Most of the background information has been given in A Kebyar Duduk Dancer.
Inspired by an early black and white photo of a dancer, I became intrigued by the suppleness of his body and the fluid manner in which he undulated his arms. Could I further capture the very essence of this pose whilst adhering to the stylized form for my miniatures?
The toy soldier is in itself an abstracted piece, based on a historical legacy of a crude toy with a basic form and simplified painting to represent a specific troop type. Our imagination allows us to fill in the exactitude of costume details and correct anatomical stance for the toy’s shortcomings. There are neither exacting nor fussy costume details to mull over.
However, the limitations of the single-piece casting may be suitable for rigid ranks of soldiers, but seem to freeze the fluid nature of dancers and musicians into a state of suspended stasis.
For the production pieces, one way of overcoming this apparent inflexibility was to create modular castings from which numerous permutations of heads, torsos, legs and arms could be derived. However, certain parameters must remain constant, such as the position for head insertions, the location of the arm pinions and the location of torso to legs. Thus the paradox of achieving variety in poses through homogeneity of using the same castings is deliciously poised here.
The exclusive items being offered here, by their very name, are singular in nature. There is no need to think about reproducing pieces and thus, there exists an avenue for free experimentation, allowing one to move away from a fettered preoccupation with production norms.
Here I explore the option of changing the constancy of the location of the arm pinions and the torso to legs. Thus if these points are regarded as visual cues to body language, then their repositioning would change our visual perception of that piece.
I had a suitable head, arms and torso from the original Kebyar Duduk figure. For the lower legs, I used the pose which was created for the seated woman figure.
For toy soldiers, the positions of the arm pinions are fixed horizontally. If these arm pinions were to be moved upwards, they would represent the pose that I had in mind. Thus I removed the original arm pinions and drilled new holes to reposition brass pinions on the upper part of the shoulders. Furthermore, the arm joints, normally cast in the same plane as the rest of the arm, were twisted to enhance the effect of having uplifted arms. Although this appears to be a radical concept, it does represent the way that the muscle bulk of our shoulder joints move to accommodate uplifted arms. The head was repositioned to accomodate the reworked arms. The torso was attached to the lower legs at an angle and a strip of metal sheet was artistically attached to represent the skirt and to create visual balance to the piece. Minor details such as a flower and a sash were added with epoxy putty.
Making inferences from the visual documentation, the figure was painted in a lighter skin tone than usual. The face was painted as if he was wearing makeup and the colours of the sarong (in pastel shades) and trailer (in primary and bright shades) were carefully selected and contrasted.
Using the arm pinions and torso positions as visual guides, changing their orientation radically improves the fluidity of this specific movement. Furthermore, twisting both arm joints in two different directions introduces planar concepts into this piece. The effect of the arms waving about is constantly changed when the figure is viewed from various angles. This piece allows for a very creative experimentation in the way toy figures can be represented as miniature works of art.