Theatricality, choreography and photography merge in artist Benji Reid’s practice as a self-titled Choreo-photolist. A key figure in the Manchester arts scene, Reid has been a major contributor to the Black Physical Theatre canon over the last 30 years. During that time he has made the journey from hip hop theatre pioneer to visual theatre and photography.
Reid has found inspiration in a range of sources, from French filmmaker Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle (1958) to stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts (1963). His work draws upon a cross pollination of hip and Butoh, a Japanese avant-garde dance style partly defined by intensely controlled micro-movements, surrealism and the primal expressions of the human condition. For him art was a means to curate his curiosities and establish hyper-realities and conversations.
Reid’s portraits are often staged in his home, utilising found materials and props and enabling the opportunity for testing boundaries and relationships with materials and others. Dancer Buyinza Dinah and Reid himself pose for Disposition matrix (game of drones). It is his playful expression of love and death, depicting a man and a woman, the last two people on earth, in their final moments. They come together as one for the very last time. Reid captures the yearning, denial, love and sorrow in this intimate moment of vulnerability.