1st December 2007 – 13th January 2008
Curated by Mathieu Copeland
With Jonah Bokaer, Philipp Egli, Karl Holmqvist, Jennifer Lacey, Roman Ondak, Michael Parsons, Fia Backström & Michael Portnoy.
„A Choreographed Exhibition” combines contemporary art and dance to create a long-run performance that persists for more than a month and a half. The concept developed by the free-lance curator Mathieu Copeland (*1977, lives in London) is based solely on an accumulation of movements. These are used as a mean to create a deliberately ephemeral artwork, which will only persist as memory.
Three dancers of the Tanzkompanie of the Theater St. Gallen will perform a patterned course of movements and rehearsed gestures during four hours (Wed – Sun) from the 1st of December to the 13th of January. These single sequences will be rehearsed as base elements on location by the dancers together with the international artists and choreographers. Only during the course of the exhibition the overall comprehensive composition will unfold.
Roman Ondak (*1966, lives in Bratislava) asks the dancers with his contribution „Insiders“ to ignore the surrounding reality, and to wear as little insider group their clothes inside-out, as they get together in an attitude of disdain and ignore their surrounding reality. The composer Michael Parsons (*1938, lives in London) re-actualises his seminal ‘Walking Pieces’ from 1968, and through a new score instructs the three dancers how to walk in the space of the Kunst Halle, and thus generating an open piece of visual music. A polophony of voices creates Karl Holmqvist (*1964, lives in Berlin) in asking the dancers to read different lyrics from various songs whilst performing cleaning gestures. A choreography somehow reminiscent of the 1960s experimental theatre, Fia Backstrom & Michael Portnoy create a piece about exchange systems in this unique collaboration, moving between intelligible primitive tribal moves and a daily updated live stock market report. The director of the Tanzkompanie St. Gallen, Philippe Egli (*1966, lives in St. Gallen) uses the texture of the body, and brings the outside toward the inside as the dancers perform a series of movements extrapolated from the contemporary dance repertoire. The choreography generated by Jonah Bokaer (*1981, lives in New York) has been mediated through a computer program for any three dancers, thus generating a choreography of movements formed & filtered through several layers of writing, ultimately mediated by the dancers themselves. As the link between all the pieces and in a desire to bring the inside out, Jennifer Lacey (lives in Paris) develops a piece that intervenes in-between all the pieces, and therefore within the core of the exhibition.
Only be the progression of the basic elements that have been designed especially for the Kunst Halle and rehearsed by all the participants in advance, the super-ordinate alignment is revealed – “A Choreographed Exhibition”. The usual set-up of artistic works normally shown in an exhibition is thus expanded. Instead of the usual placement of the individual art works in space, the factor of time becomes paramount: Not so much where the art object is located spatially, but when a specific succession of movements is positioned temporally will be relevant. As the public – because of its own temporally limited presence – is confronted only by a fraction of the entire collaborative work, also the (arbitrary) moment when the individual visitor enters (and leaves) the exhibition, gains in significance.
In a space where nothing is present but the dancers, in a the gallery left empty and devoid of any music or props, only the opening hours and the length of the exhibition determines the exhibition’s rhythm. Movements are deployed as means in order to produce an intentionally ephemeral art piece that affirms a critical counter-attitude in a world oversaturated with objects. “A Choreographed Exhibition” will only exist as long as the time span that is needed for its own overall realisation by the dancers. The visitors’ partial and fragmentary memories however, will persist long after the very last succession of movements has come to a standstill.
The Kunst Halle is very pleased to end the year’s programme 2007 in a unique and enthralling way. By this externally curated intervention with conjoins international participants from the fields of the visual arts, dance and music, there is a compelling “exhibition” that challenges its very own status by confronting the public with extraordinary “art objects”.
We would like to thank the Ars Rhenia Stiftung, Arnold Billwiler Stiftung, British Council and the Swedish Embassy for their generous support. “A Choreographed Exhibition is a co-production with the Centre d'art contemporain La Ferme du Buisson, Marne-la-Vallée (F), and realised by the Theater of St. Gallen.