Work of Art: flight research #5
Rosemary Laing
Australian
born 1959
flight research #5
1999
Chromogenic print
42 3/8 x 94 1/4 in. (107.6 x 239.4 cm)
Purchased with funds from Charles Babcock and Dr. and Mrs. Lunsford Long, by exchange

A bride is suspended in the air above the boundless Australian landscape. She hovers between rising and falling, a pivotal moment in which she defies gravity. The print, although unaltered, is the result of an elaborately staged performance orchestrated by Rosemary Laing working with a stunt woman. It is part of a series of flying and soaring brides that Laing completed in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. A combination of performance art and photography, the image realizes the exhilarating sense of freedom found in airborne movement and marks the liberation of the body into the beyond.

Laing poetically weds the real landscape to a seemingly unreal occurrence. Speed is captured in the quietest still as the bride levitates high above the clouds, between this world and the next. The image confounds belief; reality lies somewhere between dream and fantasy. In her white Victorian wedding gown, the bride graces the skyline like a billowing cloud in the panoramic landscape. Her gaze is intent, as if she is on a quest, alone and unafraid. Laing frames the apex of an extraordinary trajectory, an incredible instant transfixed in a single photographic image.

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