Dressage –a collaborative series -by Susan Knight and Trevor Mein
Dressage is the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility and balance; a demanding discipline that requires both rider and horse to work as one. Like the artist, the dressage rider is concerned with the principles of composition, with balance and harmony.
Intrinsic to the exactitude and flow of this moving picture are the dressage arena letters that act as a code hidden in plain sight, instructing the rider which movement to perform. Along with the bold and sometimes blurred alphabetical letters that have their origins in the German cavalry, these images capture moments in this subtle and stylized partnership.
The training takes place in the indoor arena against the patina of dust and grime. The shafts of natural light and reflections from the wall mirrors, like those found in ballet schools, all contribute to the heightened atmosphere, the performance and the artistry of the work itself.
Just as these images distil what is normally hidden in the blur of movement, so too do they remind us – through the occasional glimpse of a gloved hand holding the reins – of the rider’s presence.
By breaking down the dressage sequences and abstracting the horse into parts of a whole, these images draw our attention to a living geometry of lines, planes and curves and illuminate dressage’s demanding physical and visual etiquette.
Fiona Capp & Susan Knight 2017
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