Program 2016

Laurie Simmons

USA (1949)

Water Ballet


For almost 40 years, Laurie Simmons’ work has questioned the portrayal of women in mass media and advertising and contributed to the feminist critique of power structures. For her series Water Ballet (1980-1981), she photographed her friends, including Cindy Sherman, indulging in underwater choreography in a swimming pool. This historical series, inspired by the aesthetics of water ballets that were very fashionable in American cinema in the 1940s and 1950s, shows men and women swimming in complete freedom, as if freed from the constraints of society. The Festival presents this series in large format in backlit windows, simulating a point of view through a porthole in a swimming pool or an aquarium.

Original scenography by Festival Images Vevey