Andrew Dawson, Absence and Presence

Review in Issue 15-1 | Spring 2003

Everything that I say is only a fragment of something that spoke as a whole: it was eloquent, it was lyrical, it was quiet, a story, an intimate account of one man and his relationship to his father. (A father who had died and lain undiscovered in his house for ten days.) Yet his father was there too, physically absent – invisibly present.

A few chairs, a television set and a sculpture of a life-size sitting man made out of chicken wire, such unpretentious and banal objects. The multi-layered storytelling of mime, movement, dance, puppetry, video (on TV monitor) and recorded text created a story mosaic that grew throughout the show. But at the centre was Andrew Dawson’s consummate creative presence and physical craft; he moves with such a lightness, modesty and unpretentiousness. In my memory, it is as though he danced with his father for an hour, transforming him in the process to a weightless child as he carried the wire-frame sculpture on his shoulders.

I suspect that this was one of those performances that, if it didn’t work for you, would have been boring and quickly forgotten. For me, like his previous work Quatre Mains, it made a deep, unforgettable impression and will inspire me in my own work.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-1
p. 25