The Museo Reina Sofía presents the first edition of STUDY, an annual programme which, over two days, brings together presentations in a range of formats (stage pieces, performance lectures, actions, readings, conversations). The programme issues from the research conducted by a series of artists and researchers whose practices are tied directly to or engage in dialogue with the area of choreography and performance.
From this specific approach and from an experimental angle, STUDY sets out a context which, in responding to the different meanings to which its name alludes, calls forth a perception of artistic work in the scope of its study, as a learning process. That is to say, as a practice that essentially delves into the territory of that which is not yet known. Moreover, it incorporates its spatial connotations, referring to study as a place of work in which the workings of materials and the relationships between objects and places unfurl and are verified. Finally, as essay: a commitment to knowledge which opens out to uncertainty through an alliance with language and which works as a test, as training and as an examination of all that which we take as a given, before calling it into question.
This first edition features the audience’s involvement as they accompany these artists’ proposals – some are presenting their experiments for the first time, while others participate with a completed work in order to put it to the test, see and produce it again, check its validity.
STUDY. First edition
Wednesday, 16 January 2019
Nouvel Building, Protocol Room – 11am
With Juan Domínguez, Mette Edvardsen, Victoria Pérez Royo, Quim Pujol, Alma Södergerg and Sarah Vanhee
This first session, directed by students from the Study Centre and organised in collaboration with the Radio Reina Sofía team, presents an encounter and conversation between guest artists via sound materials, quotes and references inherent in their respective research. Over the course of two hours and a half, speakers and listeners will experiment with the live production of a radio podcast, which will later be published in the RRS archive.
The encounter will be in English and Spanish, without translation.
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200 – 5pm
Ejercicio (Exercise) by Juan Domínguez
In response to STUDY’s invitation, Juan Domínguez traverses the memory of his works Todos los buenos espías tienen mi edad (2002), Entre lo que ya no está y lo que todavía no está (2016) and Mi única memoria (2018); a dynamic – revision through memory — inherent in the structure of each one.
Ejercicio is presented as an experiment, a way of paying heed to the relationships created in the aforementioned works, wandering from one to the other as if they were architecture, generating transits and resting now and again at one or two to observe what is being said or what they are saying to us in their convergence.
Creation and performance: Juan Domínguez
“In his works, Juan Domínguez makes us work, think and feel. You could say that the combination of intellectuality and passion is perceived in each of his works, but perhaps it is in his solos where this is more clearly apparent. In them, we can appreciate the logic of precise research into language and form, and the search for a shake-up of status and the self. Each one entails a reflection on the strategies to share on stage and demonstrates an urgency to elicit movement in the spectator”.
(Isabel de Naverán and Andrea Rodrigo)
Juan Domínguez has worked in the field of so-called expanded choreography and contemporary performing arts since 1986. He presents himself as a conceptual clown, a magic cowboy, a model-poet, an untied “narrator”, a curator of pleasure. His work juts out as it combines a great capacity for self-reflection and humour and delirium, characteristic of the poet who, playing with language, creates a new reality, oftentimes either clearly fictitious or extremely real. His extensive artistic output runs across more than twenty years and includes pieces he has directed (The Application, 2005; blue, 2009); created in collaboration with other artists (Shichimi Togarashi, 2006, with Amalia Fernández, and El triunfo de la libertad, 2014, with Juan Loriente and La Ribot); serial works (Clean Room 2010–2016), and others in parallel with the organisation of curatorial programmes (In-presentable in La Casa Encendida in Madrid, from 2003 to 2012; Picnic Sessions in CA2M, Móstoles [Madrid] from 2013 to 2015; and the Living Room Festival in different European cities, between 2010 and 2017). Domínguez is a guest professor in different postgraduate programmes, including the MA in Arts Practice and Visual Culture, organised by Artea, the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) and Museo Reina Sofía. With Mette Edvardsen, Alma Söderberg and Sarah Vanhee he created the structure Manyone. He lives between Berlin and Madrid.
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400 – 7pm
Black by Mette Edvardsen
followed by a conversation with Victoria Pérez Royo
Black is a solo by Mette Edvardsen which explores and tests the act of making things appear in space through language. Initially, space is presented empty, with nothing inside but the body of the artist. Through the spoken word and the movements it makes on stage, a world appears “visible”; a world where the artist, performing, works as a mediator between the audience and what is there before their eyes. Black advances a game which unfolds in time and space, where only the body is physically present, acting and handling invisible objects, constantly attempting to save the distance that exists between thought and experience, between the here and there.
After the performance of this piece an encounter will be held with Mette Edvardsen, presented and moderated by researcher Victoria Pérez Royo. Both will discuss common interests, with the focal point and narrative thread resting on some of Edvardsen’s most recent works, such as Oslo (2017), We to be (2015) and No Title (2014), all three of which, together with Black, form an ensemble of pieces whose common denominator is the study of the limits of language and access to the imagination, thereby intervening in and expanding towards real space.
Creation and performance: Mette Edvardsen
Production: Mette Edvardsen/Athome
Co-production: Black Box Teater (Oslo), Work Space (Brussels)
Collaborators: Kaaitheater (Brussels), Vooruit (Gent), Netwerk (Aalst)
Support: Norsk Kulturråd, Fond for Utøvende Kunstnere, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“These four pieces share the same economy of reducing the elements at play right down and the exhaustive exploration of their possibilities, and a particular way of inhabiting the chasm between text and body.
In the transition from one to the other, a series of tensions are articulated between the repetition of text and its anchorage here and now in every theatre and with every audience, between repetition and the opening up of possibility, between repetition and inventory, between imagining so much and seeing so little, between the palpable absence of what is not there but present through language, an absence which is ultimately so present, rich, varied, diverse and possible, which opens a unique stage scape: an empty space was never so full”.
(Victoria Pérez Royo)
Mette Edvardsen works in the sphere of performing arts and performance, and also explores other mediums and formats such as video and the editing and experimental composition of books. Due to her training as a dancer and her participation in choreographic projects and with prestigious companies such as les ballets C. de la B. and Mårten Spångberg, her work has often been framed inside the field of dance; perhaps it is from that place that she investigates forms of generating practices and situations, even though her practices exceed the limits of such disciplines, moving into hard-to-define areas, with a core interest in the relationship between language and action. She is currently a researcher at the National Academy of Arts and an associate artist at the Black Box Theatre, both in Oslo. With Juan Domínguez, Alma Söderberg and Sarah Vanhee she created the structure Manyone. She lives between Oslo and Brussels.
Victoria Pérez Royo is part of Artea, and a professor of Aesthetics and Art Theory at the University of Zaragoza (UZ), as well as co-director of the MA in Arts Practice and Visual Culture (UCLM, Artea and Museo Reina Sofía) and a guest professor in university programmes in Holland, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Costa Rica, Brazil and Chile, among other countries. In recent years, she has worked intensively as a curator in the framework of research initiatives in art centres, including La Casa Encendida, the Museo Reina Sofía and Matadero, all in Madrid. She has edited the books ¡A bailar a la calle! Danza contemporánea, espacio público y arquitectura (2008), Práctica e investigación (2010, with José A. Sánchez), To be continued. 10 textos en cadena y unas páginas en blanco (2012, with Cuqui Jerez), Componer el plural. Cuerpo, escena, política (2016, with Diego Agulló) and Dirty Room (2017, with Juan Domínguez).
STUDY. First edition
Thursday, 17 January 2019
Sabatini Building, Garden – 4pm
Fregoli by Quim Pujol
Quim Pujol’s Fregoli is an exercise which invokes at once the renowned transformist Leopoldo Fregoli (1867–1936) and the avant-garde in live arts to celebrate, in the words of the artist, “the capacity to transform ourselves, the moving being and its endless possibilities”.
To the question “what is still left to learn from Fregoli?”, the artist presents a series of transformist numbers, in which he never changes appearance, however — the transformation works through language and the will to rethink, displace and alter what is known.
Text and performance: Quim Pujol
Artistic support: María and Cuqui Jerez
Acknowledgements: Eva Serra
This project was carried out with the help of the programme “Artists in Residency” in La Casa Encendida in Madrid and the Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, Móstoles (Madrid)
Leopoldo Fregoli was one of the most important transformists of the 20th century, frenetically changing appearance in his shows to give life to dozens of characters in one performance. Critic Sebastià Gasch wrote: “Fregoli embodied more than a thousand characters of every genre, type and sort (…). With Fregoli sprouted, on stage, early insights into the themes of our age”. The Italian actor also became an indispensable frame of reference for Catalan artist Joan Brossa (1919–1998) – much admired, in turn, by Pujol – and for avant-garde performing art.
Quim Pujol works in and from the limits which border between poetry, live arts and contemporary art. Inhabiting the fissure between disciplines and formats enables him to explore the possibilities of language, thus generating unusual situaitons which, often packed with humour and poetry, seek to alter the states of perception, making use of references that stem from research that can start from an artist or an artwork considered cult, and aimed at the history of the popular, the street or observations of the everyday. His latest works include ASMR del futuro (2015), BDSMmm (2016), Fregoli (2017) and Verde croma (2018). He has participated in exhibitions such as Interval. Sound Actions in the Fundació Antoni Tàpies and Visceral Blue in La Capella, both in Barcelona. With Ixiar Rozas he is co-editor of a book on affective theory Ejercicios de ocupación. Afectos, vida y trabajo (2015) and, between 2011 and 2015, curated Secció Irregular, a performance programme at Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona. Moreover, he has collaborated on different pedagogical projects such as the Programme of Independent Studies (PEI) at the Museu d'Art Contemporani in Barcelona (MACBA), the programme Encender un fósforo (Strike a Match) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, Mexico), the festival ImPulsTanz (Vienna), and the centres SNDO (Amsterdam) and the Dutch Art Institute (Arnhem), among others. He currently lives in Barcelona.
Sabatini Building, Protocol Room – 5pm
Lecture by Sarah Vanhee
Screaming is an immediate, affective act that reveals at once great strength and profound vulnerability. You open your mouth and powerfully expulse air from your lungs up through your throat, letting sounds come out of a hole in the middle of your face. When we scream it is our soul that shouts.
Screams can be a weapon, a tool, the most individual form of expression, a way of releasing tension… Not screaming is related to (self)censorship, to suppression, compliance, normalisation. Screaming, therefore, is a political act.
For this first edition of STUDY, Vanhee has put together a performance lecture, created as a kind of anthology of the scream, a collection and historical survey through the act of screaming being linked to social and political movements. A compilation of pronounced or unpronounced screams, which are a reflection of how history, politics, gender and other complex dynamics influence our ability to scream and make us wonder why we don’t scream when we should.
Text, presentation, research: Sarah Vanhee
Sarah Vanhee is an artist and performer. Her multidisciplinary practices have led her interests to rest on the terrain between the public space occupied by civil society and the specific framework of the art institution. In recent years she has produced her work in prisons, private living rooms, theatres, public spaces and corporate meeting rooms. Her most recent works include the performances Unforetold, Oblivion and Turning Turning; the film The Making of Justice; the project Untitled, carried out in private living rooms; what she calls “intrusions”, assembled under the name Lecture For Every One; the art novel and work in public space in The C-Project; and a project in an auction format in The Great Public Sale of Unrealized but Brilliant Ideas. Her work has been displayed internationally, for instance at festivals such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) and iDans (Istanbul), and in centres like the Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven), Centre Pompidou (Metz) and the Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol). She is the co-editor of Untranslatables and author of The Miraculus Life of Claire and TT, among other writings. Vanhee regularly collaborates with the art and research centre CAMPO (Gent) and with Juan Domínguez, Mette Edvardsen and Alma Söderberg she created the structure Manyone. She currently lives in Brussels.
Sabatini Building, Protocol Room – 6:30pm
It could be that the saddest thing is not knowing that one is sad
Lecture by Mette Edvardsen, with consecutive interpretation by Quim Pujol.
A lecture on repetition, love, translation, rhythm and material. It could be that the saddest thing is not knowing that one is sad is based on the practice of writing, the act of directing thoughts through different forms of writing to someone who is going to read it.
What started as a talk on repetition, accompanied by a band, became, in response to this invitation, a written letter to be translated by the reader; a letter that engenders a format that is open and has a specific direction, and thoughts are shared both directly and abstractly.
Text, presentation, creation: Mette Edvardsen
Translation: Quim Pujol
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400 – 8pm
Deep Etude by Alma Söderberg
“What type of activity is listening to rhythm? Is whoever listens a kind of dancer-listener, even when they sit in darkness in the stalls? I think it’s possible to create a bridge between who moves physically in space and who focuses on an interior movement by listening, he or she who is modulating their attention, finding their bearings in the profound interior space of the music”.
Deep Etude arises from a profound study on polyrhythm by choreographer Alma Söderberg, in a collaboration with sound artist LeChat W. DeHendrik. It is simultaneously a dance piece and musical work, where dance and music are potentially separable but also inseparable to the sight and hearing of the spectator. If they are separable, it is because both qualities, musical and gestural, can change roles for a while; and inseparable insofar as one forces the other to be perceived with greater sharpness, and vice versa. Nevertheless, both act separately in this piece. Figure and ground alternate their position so that one appears to sculpt the other: there are moments when dance becomes the ground upon which the music acts and others in which movement excavates a sound that seems to emerge towards the surface.
Thus, Deep Etude is a composition and practice, a study that evolves into rhythm and analyses our capacity to listen and pay attention. The act of dancing is a transformation of different rhythms which, conjointly, form a general rhythm; different layers, the gaps between sounds and movements, syncopation, accents in non-accentuated areas, breaks, a constant of musical flows and breaks which play and act simultaneously in our minds and bodies.
Creation and performance: Alma Söderberg
Sound: Lechat W. DeHendrik
Dramaturgy: Igor Dobricic
Lighting design: Pol Matthé
Artistic advisor: Anja Röttgerkamp
Co-production: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, BUDA, PACT Zollverein, Riksteatern, Vooruit
Support: Swedish Arts Council (Kuturrådet)
Residency spaces: STUK, BUDA, Kunstenwerkplaats de Pianofabriek, Tanzfabrik, Charleroi Danse/Raffinerie, Beursschouwburg.
Alma Söderberg is supported by apap – Performing Europe 2020, a project co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme.
Alma Söderberg is a choreographer and performer whose pieces stem from a research practice into the relationship between voice and movement. Her works include the solos Cosas (2010), TRAVAIL (2012), Nadita (2015) and Deep Etude (2018). In a collaboration with Jolika Sudermann, she produced the performance A Talk and regularly plays in the group John The Houseband. In 2014 she created the piece Idioter, in collaboration with Hendrik Willekens, with whom she also undertook the music project wowawiwa. She is currently working on the creation of the trio Entangled Phrases, with Angela Peris Alcantud and Anja Müller, and with Juan Domínguez, Mette Edvardsen and Sarah Vanhee she created Manyone. She lives in Stockholm.