Mélusine: Project with French Dancer Elisa Lons and Swedish Photographer Johannes Hjorth

In February 2020, I went to the Royal Opera in Stockholm to meet up with the French Dancer Elisa Lons and Swedish Photographer Johannes Hjorth. We did a fun collaboration together! Below is the article written by NPAFE.

Elisa Lons, Elaine Chiu, and Johannes Hjorth in NPAFE’s words…

While the power of pure genius can take many forms, none are quite like the “Mèlusine” internet creation, which has come our way and yours from the awesome genius of Elisa Lons, Elaine Chiu, and Johannes Hjorth.

All usual superlatives apply, certainly including “creative”, “magical”, “evocative”, “emotional”, even “eye-popping”. But those words barely scratch the surface.

Photo: Johannes Hjorth

What informs our praise of Lons’, Chiu’s and Hjorth’s genius in Mèlusine – and what will inform yours – is a rare moment that these three craftspeople offer for you to witness their own distinctive creative process who succeed in enchantment right from the start.

Mèlusine is a finely-crafted work of visual, literary, and body movement crafted by three people hailing from distant corners of the globe, each nominally different from one-another by virtue of their professions yet perfectly bound together in unison as they harness their magical mystery of common purpose, passion, and shared inspiration.

Photo: Johannes Hjorth

Mèlusine shouts out: “Let’s experiment. Let’s explore. Let’s combine our three so separate skills of artistry – of the body’s movement, of the camera, and of the paintbrush – into a perfect unity of creative storytelling.”

While Mèlusine may be the beauty of image, words, and extraordinary body art, it is story-telling of risk-taking, of uncovering one’s inner soul and letting the rest of the world see it, feel it, almost touch it.

We see – you see – the soul of the remarkable ballerina-modern dancer-choreographer Elisa Lons, from France, whose images and self rise from the page.

Photo: Johannes Hjorth

You see the soul of Elaine Chiu, from Hong Kong, who for Mèlusine set aside her acclaimed artistry of capturing urban architecture on canvas and paper, instead bringing forth from her mind an image of floral beauty, making it move – literally – on the canvas of Lons’ own body.

Elaine Chiu painting on the canvas of Elisa Lons’ body.

Photo: Johannes Hjorth

And for sure, it is the soul of photographer and writer Johannes Hjorth, from Stockholm, who in all of his works shares with the world an uncanny power to capture the essence of whatever he sees and feels, transforming his stunning vision as few can into compelling photo images, thoughts and words that carry the rest of us to the stars.

Actually, in Mèlusine, all three – Elisa, Elaine, and Johannes – carry us to the stars, as you are about to find out for yourself: Click here to see the full Mèlusine portfolio.

From Elaine Chiu…

“Painting directly on the body is a great way to experiment with the rhythm created by a female, classical dancer’s body move.

“We started with Elisa’s hands and fingers with black paint. I tended to use curve lines a lot to match her body and moves. The flower would then spread to her arms and to her back. Once it reaches her back, the flower grows into full bloom.

“I took the form of the lily because I think it suits Elisa’s character a lot. From roots to the bloom, the colour scheme changed from darker to brighter. That’s the change of mood that we wanted to have as a storyline.

“This is our process; everything happens very organically. I prefer matching my painting to the model’s character and put her dance rhythm in visual form.

11 March 2020

**Johannes Hjorth writes: For those wondering about the title Mélusine, it was chosen by Elisa Lons herself. Mélusine is a French mythical creature: a woman with a serpent’s lower body, much like a mermaid. Several royal houses used to claim to be descendants of Mélusine. You can read more about the legends of Mélusine on Wikipedia.