December 6, 2012 - December 30, 2012
La Danse Francaise
Theresia Viska’s La Danse Française is a photographic “ghost story,” a haunting record of the Stockholm Military Academy’s annual winter ball. Steeped in tradition, it is the oldest military academy in the world to remain in its original location since it began in 1792.
“At the military academy in Stockholm they have an annual winter ball at the Castle of Karlberg where the young cadets dance the Dance Française. When the military academy welcomed me, I knew right away how to work with my images. My family has been within the military for over 300 years. Both my parents and grandparents have been attending these balls. I was going to let the beautiful ball dancers illustrate the ghosts and spirits of my ancestors.”
Inspired by the paintings of Francis Bacon, the television show Twin Peaks, and in particular the horror film The Shining, Viska cites the scene “in which Jack Nicholson wakes up in the middle of the night and all of a sudden there is a big party. I wanted my pictures to feel similar. I wanted the viewers to ‘enter’ a house where they hear sounds without actually seeing something. I wanted them to feel watched by ghosts-creatures that are not necessarily mean but not normal either. Ghosts have been undoubtedly dead for a long time…which makes it normal for them to look sometimes beautiful and sometimes a little scary.”
This is Theresia Viska’s first American solo exhibition. La Danse Française was previously exhibited at the Novosibirsk State Art Museum in Siberia, Russia. Viska has received several grants for her photographic work including the The Association of Swedish Professional Photographers, Artist-in-Residency, Greece. She has published two books, Stable Girls and La Danse Française and her work has been featured in numerous publications.
This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the New Sweden Cultural Heritage Society of Oregon and Washington, and the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation.