Alchemical Breakfast is Lyndal Walker’s first video work, having worked for many years with photography and installation. The video of a man dancing with a folded fan continues her interests in the nature of images, representations of gender and sexuality and the qualities of feminine accessories.
The video challenges dichotomies and expectations about masculinity. The form of a folded fan mimics both the vagina and the phallus depending on whether it is folded or open. The work delights in gender fluidity and playfully challenges the audience and their expectations. The title of the video refers to one of the ultimate goals of alchemy, which was to unite male and female in one being.
The fan features explicit images of genitals so references pornography but this is not where the eroticism lies. Part of the seductive nature of the work is that the dancer is equally comfortable with both the vagina and the penis. The fan is an object that, in The West, is associated with the feminine and the comfort with which the dancer engages with this object raises questions about female and male desire and experiences of sex.
While he is the object of desire, the dancer retains eye contact with the audience at all times and as such makes them self-conscious and aware of the act of looking. Tension is also created by the location, which is domestic but mimics a set in its two-dimensionality. This familiar setting may be theatre. While the work creates a fantasy situation, a playful dance, it simultaneously destabilises that by drawing attention to seeing, looking and ourselves as audience.
Alchemical Breakfast, 2018
4 minutes 38 seconds
Created by Lyndal Walker
Dancer Alistair Watts
Editor Mariana Jocic
Sound Night and Day Ducks
Distance and Difficulties Ducks