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David Michalek, still from Figure Studies, 2012, high-speed HD video, Courtesy of the artist

David Michalek
Figure Studies

On View September 3 – December 21, 2013

David Michalek's work applies the technology of high–speed HD video to the recording of human movement. "Figure Studies" builds on a previous work from 2007, the award-winning "Slow Dancing" which consists of a series of video portraits of dancers. The core premise of both "Figure Studies" and "Slow Dancing" is to record a small slice of time (a mere five seconds) at extremely high frame rates, so that when played back in real time, the 5 seconds stretch to roughly ten minutes. "Figure Studies" brings together art and science and embraces multiple referents: contemporary studies of bio-mechanics; the photographic motion studies of nineteenth-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge and French physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey; and the vocabulary of post-modern dance. "Figure Studies" is a commission of Pomona College and the Pomona College Museum of Art and Summerhall Arts Venue at the Edinburgh Festival with major support by Le Laboratoire.

David Michalek is a New York-based artist working within various media to create works that are based in portraiture. After a career in the1990s as a commercial photographer for publications from The New Yorker to Vogue, Michalek turned to an artistic practice incorporating photography, video, performance, and projection, frequently in collaboration with performing artists. Projects include "Portraits in Dramatic Time" (2011) presented at the Lincoln Center Festival; and "14 Stations" (2002--2008) a multi-media project encompassing photography, projections, spoken word, testimony and conversation shown at the Brooklyn Museum and Yale Divinity School. He created a film of projected stills for Peter Sellar's staging of "Kafka Fragments" which debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2005; the LA Phil presented the production in 2008 at Walt Disney Hall. Michalek's work has been exhibited at The Kitchen, New York, Brooklyn Museum, Harvard University, Sadler's Wells, Trafalgar Square, Opera Bastille, Venice Biennale, Yale University, Lincoln Center, and at the Edinburgh Festival at Summerhall with the Richard DeMarco Foundation. He is a visiting faculty member at Yale Divinity School, where he lectures on religion and the arts.

"Slow Dancing", which has transfixed viewers in such varied locations as Harvard University, Lincoln Center, Opera Bastille in Paris, and Trafalgar Square in London will be projected on the façade of Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College every evening from October 1 through October 5, 2013.

Presentations of "Figure Studies" and "Slow Dancing" are offered in conjunction with the interdisciplinary symposium, "The Moving Mind" organized by the Pomona College Departments of Dance and Neuroscience. “The Moving Mind: A Forum for Dialogue Between the Arts and Sciences,” takes place on the Pomona College campus from October 3 through 5, 2013. It will provide opportunities for dialogue and experiential workshops in which those interested in the cognitive or neurosciences might explore ideas through the process of embodied exploration; performing or visual artists might find insight into the creative processes through the lens of research science; and scholars in the humanities and social sciences might consider the myriad of issues around the human body. The symposium aims to address the fact that creative thinking and the use of imagination are common goals for both artists and scientists. Information is available through

Please note this exhibition contains full female and male nudity.