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Filming Dance: Beginning and End of a Century

6 may, 1998 - 30 may, 1998 /
Sabatini Building, Auditorium

Video dance is usually linked to the origins of video and its relationship to contemporary dance, following the evolution of creators, artistic languages and the use of technology in the search for common ground where the two forms of expression complement each other in the communication of ideas and creation of emotions. However, the relationship between dance and image is not exclusive to the last quarter century; in fact, since its earliest days, a special attraction has existed between film and dance that today, after nearly one hundred years, still merits analysing.

The first part of this programme is dedicated to the interesting film miniatures made in the 1920s and 1930s with choreographers who are fundamental to the development of modern dance, such as Ruth St. Denis (Newark, 1879 - Los Angeles, 1968), Mary Wigman (Hannover, 1886 - Berlin, 1973), Valeska Gert (Berlin, 1892 - Kampen, 1978) and Martha Graham (Pittsburgh, 1894 - New York, 1991), in addition to short films directed and performed in by Maya Deren (Kiev, 1917 - New York, 1961) in the 1940s.

The second part of the programme is reserved for more recent productions, with the exception of the tribute paid to the Belgian director Walter Verdin (Anderlecht, 1953), whose work with Win Vanderkeybus (Herenthout, 1963), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker (Malinas, 1960), Àngels Margarit (Tarrasa, 1960) and Mal Pelo reveals an innate capacity to compose time and movement at a dizzying pace.

In more recent productions, there has been a growing desire to cross the boundaries of genre, from the radicalism of works by Douglas Rosenberg, which are almost performance pieces and feature elaborate sound treatments, to the original approaches by Laurent Gentot who, using recordings of ballets performed at the Paris National Opera, puts image technology at the service of aesthetic experimentation.

Works with clear references to the world of narrative film are also included, such as Bloody Mess (1996), a provocative piece by Alison Murray (Nova Scotia, 1970) and Exit (1997) by Clara van Gool (Amsterdam, 1962), while the latest work from Angels Margarit almost seems like a piece of theatre in its conversation between two bodies.

However, purely choreographic language continues to be found in works like Solstice (1997) by Christophe Bargues and Vertigo Bird (1996), valuable examples of the emotive capacity of a staged choreographic work. Burnt, blurry images create a unique visual world in the latest video by Diego Ortiz and Carmen Werner (Madrid, 1953), which is accompanied by the almost lyrical aesthetic beauty of Reines d’un jour (1996) by Pascal Magnin.

This selection, in short, offers a new way to appreciate the intense world of 20th-century creation.

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