Tango
 

2018



Tango grew out of the tempestuous melting pot of natives, slaves and immigrants in the dockland brothels and bars of late nineteenth-century Buenos Aires. It was, by its nature, a music and a dance form of diverse origin: African, Bohemian, Cuban, Czech, German, Polish, Spanish… This was a place of flinty exteriors and rough edges that generated a friction of fiery sexual tension and the sparks of violence. 

Tango brought to this incendiary mix a rigorous form. It demands that two bodies move in perfect unison. The steps are quick and precise – there is none of the swooning swirl of the waltz. The bodies of the dancers form a taut frame of sinew and muscle. The rules of the dance and the strict tempo of the music act like the lid of a pressure cooker, building and containing a steaming passion under an unyielding exterior.


The esteemed Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges, put it this way:

“The tango is a direct expression of something that poets have often tried to state in words: the belief that a fight may be a celebration.”


This is the kind of paradox that engages the artistic partnership of Gerard O’Connor and Marc Wasiak. Their complex cinematic images are defined by the interrelationship of surface and substance; of what is apparent but unreliable and what might be disguised but true. A truth that nonetheless never quite resolves, but always hangs ajar with the lingering doubt of possibility. 


In this combative dance form, who is in control? The one who leads or the one who follows? Or are both in the thrall of the music and the directive of the dance. The one who leads can only do so if the one who follows lets them. The submissive defines the power of the dominant. The slightest demur by the one who follows will make the one who leads look weak and both look clumsy. The true authority lies in the music, which controls their partnership as a showman pulls the strings of a marionette.


Thus, embracing the magic-realist language that is a leitmotif of the artists’ work and particularly appropriate to a Latin-American subject, the dancers become puppets. In this makeshift multicultural milonga a meat market becomes a dancehall and the dancers metamorphose into dolls strung to the control of the music. All have seen better days: the china doll is cracked, the mannequins stiff and dated, the rag-dolls frayed. But all find in the enchantment of the dance an elegant sensual beauty. 


Meanwhile, as the doll-humans perform to the dictate of the music, the dance master looks on: Pinocchio, the puppet who dreamed of being a real boy…


These ironic circularities are what lie beneath the surface of the work. While Gerard and Marc create images of immaculate style and finish with a flawless photographic surface, what defines and animates their work is the celebration of difference, the brittleness of pretence, the surge of the sensual and the infinite complexity of human connection.


The celebrated American choreographer, Martha Graham, once wrote:

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.”


The perfecting of technique is a necessary but insufficient quality of greatest. Gerard and Marc are consummate craftsmen: style, visualisation, photographic precision are all perfected. But what brings greatness to their work – what makes it so captivating – is the way in which is fuses the contradictions that make us human; celebrates while troubling; affirms while questioning; flirts with danger while engaging the most sensual of struggles.


Theirs is the passion of the true artist. A passion that inspires all those with whom they work to create these expansive tableaux. The dynamic of that passion derives its power from the foundation from which it originates: the deep empathy and intelligence with which they continue to consider the complex condition of being human.


Dr. Alasdair Foster

Sydney, September 2018


 
marc wasiak
Angels and Wolves

 
 
 

The story, essentially true, according to Shuttleworth, became the bones of the Angels and Wolves narrative.

Gerard O'Connor and Marc Wasiak's photographic art works are as darkly beautiful as they are enormous; sometimes as tall as your average impeccably tailored Victorian wolf man, wide as any wigged dowager who ever rustled across a croquet lawn in lavender scented silk. They're also real photographs, though not exactly. They're historically accurate, but not really. They're digitally enhanced by a third artist, Matthew Ryan, but not so that their innate reality is compromised. Sort of.


"They're factual fiction," photographer O'Connor says. "A modern fairytale response to history," stylist Wasiak says.

Media

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/angels-and-wolves-exhibition-conjures-gothic-tales-from-the-history-of-labassa-20170425-gvrplj.html

http://www.issimomag.com/p/4/a/22659/art-of-darkness-p1771

 

 
Victoriana Pleasure Garden
 

 
 

Glamorous, excessive and lavish, a nineteenth-century Victorian garden party photography and costume exhibition showcases the work of award-winning photographer Gerard O’Connor and whimsical stylist Marc Wasiak who are known for creating elaborate tableaus.

The exhibition captures the spirit of the Victorian garden party and spring in all its glory. Large format prints, costumes and props sourced from across Australia, and an array of flowers will make you feel like you are the special guest at the party.

A previous winner of the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year award, Gerard O’Connor drew from the National Trust archives to bring the high frivolity and quirkiness of the parties to life in the stylish rooms at Tasma Terrace.

Media

http://voxfrock.com.au/pleasure-garden-move/

http://www.moha.com.au/pleasure-garden/

 

 
marc wasiak
Wedding Disaster

2011


Exhibited Australia Centre Photography Sydney 2011

Awards

Winner of Pingyao Jin Hou Niao Zun award 2011 for best international work
Bowness Art Award Finalist 2011
Moran Art Prize Finalist 2011

marc wasiak
Inside the Mansion
 

2009


While in China, Gerard & Marc undertook the creation of two ambitious new series. One depicted the family dramas of a Qing-Dynasty household presented in the style of a soap opera; the other set in a Diesel Engine Factory from the period of the Cultural Revolution. This second project was shot before a large public audience. It was remarkable that they could make such a work, which essentially satirized the period, with the support of the official festival and to the delight of the audience. Their ability to work inter-culturally on challenging themes is remarkable. A testament not only to their courage as artists but also their skill in engaging people from diverse backgrounds and drawing them in to consider challenging new ideas.


Awards

Winner of Pingyao Jin Hou Niao Zun award 2011 for best international Work

 
Inside The Factory
 

2009


While in China, Gerard & Marc undertook the creation of two ambitious new series. One depicted the family dramas of a Qing-Dynasty household presented in the style of a soap opera; the other set in a Diesel Engine Factory from the period of the Cultural Revolution. This second project was shot before a large public audience. It was remarkable that they could make such a work, which essentially satirized the period, with the support of the official festival and to the delight of the audience. Their ability to work interculturally on challenging themes is remarkable. A testament not only to their courage as artists but also their skill in engaging people from diverse backgrounds and drawing them in to consider challenging new ideas.

 
marc wasiak
The Reformatory
 

2009


Bowness Art Award Finalist, Moran Art Prize Finalist

Media

 
marc wasiak
Battle Series
 

2010


 

With a raucous, irreverent grandeur, the photographs of Gerard O’Connor & Marc Wasiak bring to mind the diverse traditions of William Hogarth’s 18th-century moral satires, 19th-century History Painting and the 20th-century underground comix of Robert Crumb.  Their images take the viewer on a helter-skelter ride through the mayhem of social, cultural and moral chaos. Their shared eye for the detailing of character and costume, and the layering of plot, transforms each tableau into a heroic melodrama with all the twists and turns, tears and laughter of a classic bodice-ripper. Whether it is a day at the beach or the din of battle; a wedding or a funeral, it is all coming unstuck in a deliciously alarming way.

 
 
marc wasiak
Bordello
 

2009


Published Large Magazine 2009.
Exhibited Red Gallery Melbourne 2010, Colour Factory
‘Why Don't You Take a Picture it Will Last Longer’

Gerard O’Connor and Marc Wasiak in Collaboration with Harry Rekas.

 
marc wasiak
Alma Park
 

2009


Ode to Betty Page and the camp beauty fetish of the 1950s cartoon and where we see it today.

Published Large Magazine 2009,
Exhibited Red Gallery Melbourne 2010, 'Colour Factory ‘Why Don't You Take a Picture it Will Last Longer'
Gerard O’Connor and Marc Wasiak in Collaboration with Harry Rekas

 
marc wasiak