Cover image of the review
Installation view of *Monumental*, Amrita Hepi, 2021, Gertrude Contemporary. Photo: Christian Capurro

Amrita Hepi, Monumental

27 Feb 2021
Gertrude Contemporary 6 Feb - 28 Mar 2021

I got there late one Saturday, a week after it opened. In the room in which I sat to watch it the low afternoon sun streamed in through an open curtain from nearby High Street, casting my dark shadow up against the wall. On the wall of the gallery there is another sun, this time projected. Seven dancers hold still, five standing and two crouching, while behind them a white styrofoam statue stands atop a plinth, hips tilted and arm resting on its waist.

The previously still dancers come to life, moving sinuously and gracefully as they gradually uncoil in the manner of contemporary dance. They slowly grow more and more agitated, picking up a paddle and cricket bat and begin attacking the statue. It falls from the plinth to the ground under their blows and the dancers continue to pursue it, striking it again and again until it breaks up into little pieces. Then at the end, as the deep resonant synthesiser music rises to a climax and pauses, the dancers themselves take the plinth and adopt the poses of statues, while beneath them the pieces of broken styrofoam lie scattered on the ground, illuminated now by what might be a sunrise instead of the sunset of the previous colonial moment.

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