João Penalva

The Prize Song
London  20 July - 20 August 2012
Two rings hang in front of a deep black background; hands, powdered and bandaged, reach up to them, but the rest of the body is invisible in the extreme close-up of the shot. Suddenly the body jerks up, a red leotard clothing legs and torso, and the camera remains trained on the dynamic movements. A brief pause in a position of balance, the strong upper arms – threaded by muscles and veins – are visible for a moment. Then the momentum again effaces the orientation, catapulting the gymnast into a new pose, before pausing once again for a few seconds. These images tell us something: they present the male athlete and his control over his own body as a sort of graphic torso. Even more emphatic is the sound accompanying the images: the rubbing of the leather straps always starts up when the image is focused on one of the...
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