SALLY SMART The Choreography of Cutting

11 March to 15 April 2017


Sarah Scout Presents is delighted to present a solo exhibition by esteemed Australian artist Sally Smart. The Choreography of Cutting is a major ongoing project that reframes and refigures the historical avant-garde dance company Ballets Russes and its experimental choreography, costume and theatre design as well as its legacies. In this latest iteration, Smart premieres remarkable new assemblage embroidery works, fabricated by artisans at DGTMB Art Embroidery in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from her digitally cutting up images of the costumes designed for the Ballets Russes by key early modernist artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Sonia Delaunay among others.


The Choreography of Cutting also includes ‘The Pedagogical Puppet’, which involved Smart working with a group of puppeteers at the University of Connecticut to produce a marionette of herself, together with a new large-scale blackboard drawing, giving form to her studio processes of thinking, mapping and planning through diagrams and notations. These works derive from Smart’s research into the European modern dance pioneer Rudolf Laban and his connections to the philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who used both blackboard dissertations and puppets in the pedagogical process.


However, Smart not only reiterates the Ballet Russes, she recasts it through a distinctly feminist lens, insinuating Hannah Höch as central protagonist in a suite of large-scale collage works, and Martha Graham and Pina Bausch as natural successors. Smart maps multiple ideas, temporalities and space to create a dynamic materialisation of thought, gesture and action and in so doing, she reimagines and embodies a vigorous discourse between the historical and contemporary avant-gardes.


Sally Smart is one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists, renowned for producing large-scale cut-out assemblage installations and more recently combining performance and video. Her practice engages identity politics and the relationships between the body, thought and culture. The recipient of numerous awards and prizes, Smart is currently a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship (2014) and Sackler Fellow Artist-in Residence, University of Connecticut, USA (2012). Sally Smart’s major public art commission Shadow Trees was installed in Melbourne Australia (2014).


Recent exhibitions include: The Choreography of Cutting, Postmasters Gallery, New York (2016); Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas, Singapore Art Museum (2016); Conversation: Endless Acts of Human History (with Entang Wiharso), Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta (2016); Six Degrees of Separation, Galeri Canna, Jakarta (2015); Dark Heart: 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2014); Negotiating This World, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2013); The Pedagogical Puppet, University of Connecticut, CT., USA (2012); Contemporary Australia: Women, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane, Australia and No Name Station, Iberia Center for  Contemporary Art, Beijing, China. Smart is represented in significant public and private collections including: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; GOMA/Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; The University of Melbourne Art Collection, Melbourne; Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, New Zealand; Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY, USA; The William Benton Museum of Art Connecticut’s State Art Museum, USA; British Museum, London, UK; Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, Germany; and  the International Collage Center, Pennsylvania USA.

Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions, Sally Smart