STEVEN LABADESSA

My practice serves as a physically enacted ritual of praise and contemplation, aspiring towards a devout pursuit of severe beauty. It is an aesthetic of imperfection alluding to the underlying nature of matter and memory: everything is subject to age, wear, and decay; however, it is obstinately suspended in the mythical timelessness of the medium(s)– still, but never silent.

...alternatively...

The work encapsulates a muted story of disenchantment wrought by disillusionment.

An agnostic practice in the face of futility (partly wrought by the decadence and existential angst of the digital epoch): a meditation on the eternal, wherein transcendence, if it were to exist, can be found deep within the vulnerable and mortally fabricated self.

And there is the acknowledgement that transcendence lies not in purity but in finding virtue in the impure.

...formally...

I have a preference for hyperbole (i.e., operatic) and psychological texture in my work. It explores, in an expanding suite of works, the confines of self-portraiture and the poetics of observation; where I re-render the flesh of friends and relations (lasting and temporary) by compositing my imagery from a variety of observed, imaginary, and digital sources, serving as a conceptually conceived cultural document wrought by the agency of these tumultuous times.

Compositionally, dance and theater are deliberately explored in a multi- and trans-disciplinary manner that is not an end in itself but an open field for perceiving and questioning the contemporary world. Distinctively, through a poetic choreography of singular bodies, the work encourages reflection on the allusions to sites, narratives, and the temporality of existence/memory to emphasize the importance of shared experiences and to critically question the dystopian as well as the utopian potential against hegemonic strategies of social and cultural fragmentation.

The roots and tone of which are supported by many pillars in the myriad expanse of the arts, including the dark avant-gardism of Tatsumi Hijikata's Butoh, Pina Bausch's choreography, the performance, video, and installation artist Vito Acconci, the Romantic poets (Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, in particular), and extending back to the Northern Renaissance (Hans Memling and Jan Van Eyck, notably).