How could one woman inspire 19th century luminaries including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Auguste Rodin, as well as contemporary artists like Taylor Swift, Alexander McQueen and Bill T. Jones, and still remain largely unknown?
Loïe Fuller (1862-1928) was a wildly original performer and inventor. The American creator of modern dance, Fuller also pioneered the ingenious use of electricity for the stage, even building a glass floor so that she could be lit from below. She created a completely new kind of spectacle that combined dance, fabric and movement, revolutionizing the visual culture of the early 20th century. Fuller shot to international stardom after performing in Paris. She was also an entrepreneur and impresario, launching Isadora Duncan’s career, promoting Rodin’s sculpture in the U.S. and consulting with Marie Curie and Thomas Edison in order to make her costumes glow. Her work influenced the most important artists, performers and thinkers of her day. Astonishingly, her influence continues to have an impact on our own cultural landscape. In fact, anyone who has been to a rock concert has seen a modern version of Fuller's patented inventions in lighting and stage design from a century ago!
Obsessed with Light is a film about transformation. It's about a Midwestern vaudeville performer, born during the Civil War, who became a world-famous star of Belle Époque Paris with her elaborate productions of ephemeral, shape-shifting abstractions. It's about a woman, described by contemporaries as "odd and badly dressed," who transformed herself into the "Fairy of Light" onstage. It's about a visionary who disrupted the prevailing notions of dance and the imagined limits of the human body. And it is about a driven perfectionist who was unapologetic about her appearance, sexuality and ambition.