It's Magic, but Is It Art?
Paradise in The Vault
Dimis Michaelides is our convivial host for this hour of magic where he poses the question, "What is Art? What is Magic? And is magic art?" Quite a challenging subject to explore.
His friendly, welcoming style builds up a rapport with the audience that puts them at ease. He is a consummate storyteller who uses the framework of works of arts to both educate and surprise us with magic tricks.
Beginning with a Kipling verse from the 1890s, the stage is set as he reveals a painting of a street conjuror by Hieronymus Bosch painted in the late middle ages.
He sensitively helps us to understand the subjects in the work and asks us to imagine that we are part of the painting, but who would we choose?
The captivating magic, aided by numerous members of the audience, is enthralling, all performed with skill and dexterity and delightful background stories.
We move on to a black canvas by Malevich and onto the art of cubism and surrealism, each painting knowledgeably explained in depth. Modern art is included and the public work of Bansky. “Art should be for the people and not for the elite selling for hundreds of dollars,” we are told.
What makes this performance so special is that the incredible magic and the visual art are so interwoven that we learn as well as being entertained. It’s such a clever concept that surprises and educates us.
The final contribution is an installation that embraces the United Nations’ sustainable development agenda realised by a magical experience using eggs, playing cards, a tray and glasses of water—superb.
So what is magic? Perhaps where the impossible becomes the possible, and, in the very capable hands of Dimis, it is indeed possible.
Reviewer: Robin Strapp