Let Go: Moment in Movement captures the serendipitous photographic journey of James Starkman as he followed a group of parkour practitioners (known as traceurs) training in various urban environments in and around New York City. Parkour (pronounced “par-core”), also known as l'art du déplacement (the art of displacement) or freerunning, is a physical discipline that originated in France; parkour involves training to overcome any obstacle within one’s path by adapting one’s movements to the environment. What began for the artist as an exploration of the visual elements of parkour movement deepened into a personal inquiry into the emotional and spiritual resonance of the images he spontaneously caught on film. The result is this arresting collection of “moments” in movement, simultaneously revealing aspects of both artist and subjects as they “let go.” This is the artist’s first solo exhibition.
In both their technical and thematic concerns, the works comprising this exhibition draw inspiration from varied sources, including the Belgian surrealist René Magritte and his technique of portraying ordinary objects in unfamiliar spaces to suggest new meanings through poetic juxtapositions. Taken together, the pieces demonstrate Starkman’s fascination with the nascent physical, emotional and spiritual potentialities suggested by the interplay of these elements and trace the unfolding of his discovery of unexpected beauty.
At its core, Let Go: Moment in Movement is a visual meditation on the rich metaphoric possibilities suggested by moments of framed kinetic movement. As the traceurs bound over walls and dive down staircases, they begin to redefine their relationship to their environment. As they commit to action they let go. Obstacles become opportunities, fear becomes surrender, and confinement becomes freedom ― not only for the traceurs, but for the viewer entering the action. With these moments of transformation, Starkman challenges us to examine our own physical and emotional relationship to the images.