Embodied Knowledge @ Bermondsey Project Space


The life size figures by the window catch your eye and draw you into the gallery on Bermondsey Street. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is surrounded by multiple closely hung black and white paintings depicting one, maybe two dancers. The images tell a story, long limbs extended, backs arched, toes pointed. Each image is full of movement and energy only a dancer would know. The choreographer of these paintings is artist Mark Baldwin.

I was lucky enough to meet Mark Baldwin OBE at the gallery and had the remarkable experience of viewing his work with him. The former artistic director of the Rambert dance company, Mark has turned his creativity to painting since leaving Rambert last year. He has produced a large number of works which are spread over the two floors of the gallery. Downstairs is primarily black and white, with the paintings on show upstairs full of colour. His series of six framed paintings of transvestite dancers are so full of raw pleasurable emotion, that they stand out as some of his best work.


Downstairs in the basement are a series of video installations - the viewer is invited to see some of his choreographic work spanning two decades. Auerbach even designed the set for one of the performances.

The video that still haunts me, is a very personal, private performance he recorded of himself improvising a dance in his own home. He was meant to perform it to someone, who did not show up on the night. He later found out he had committed suicide. The video is cut short when his telephone rings in the background and his mesmerising dance comes to a halt. As the viewer, one is both mesmerised and uncomfortable at witnessing this very intimate moment. A voyeur, a glimpse into someone's living room, becoming that very person for whom the performance was meant, but who took his own life that night.