Trisha Brown “Woman Walking Down a Ladder”

Trisha Brown

Aberdeen, Washington, USA, 1936 - San Antonio, Texas, USA, 2017

Babette Mangolte

Montmorot, France, 1941
  • Date: 
    1973 / Later copy, 2010
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Image: 17,8 x 24,9 cm / Support: 22,8 x 30,8 cm
  • Edition/serial number: 
  • Category: 
    Photography, Modern dance
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

This image was taken by Babette Mangolte, photographer and film-maker who intensely devoted herself to documenting the New York performing arts scene during the sixties and seventies, a time when artists became aware of the need to record these ephemeral events in an elaborate and systematic manner. One of the main targets of her camera was the dancer and artist Trisha Brown, who is seen performing one of her choreographies in this photograph and which uses the architecture of the city as the main visual and stage element. Woman Walking Down a Ladder (1973/2010) belongs to a set of works from the beginning of her career based on capturing the motion of walking in a vertical plane achieved by a series of attached ropes. These performances are the result of a series of experiments tried out in the Judson Dance Theater. The use of improvisation, chance, as well as objects and motions related to everyday movements, were some of the things employed to question the narrative and theatrical illusion of Modern Dance. In this particular case, the ordinary action of walking or descending a staircase becomes a challenge to gravity and a reflection on the weight (heavy or light) of the dancer's body, as elements of dance itself engaged in a dialogue with experimentation on a vertical plane, which is related to the visual arts.

Lola Hinojosa