Categories
art review&curating

Loud power of art: don’t be silent

Dan Flavin’s fluorescent sculptures are ‘situational’ in a way that they get their appearance in relation to the context and space on which they are displayed. His sculpture installation untitled (to Helga and Carlo, with respect and affection), reflects blue light with immense presence. When the spectator walks through the installation path she sees the surroundings as altered moments taking in her own reflection on the floor. But why is Flavin’s work so important? The question arises because Flavin’s minimalist art has drawn on a plenty of attention at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in DC. The work extends more than ninety feet in size and is paired with the wall-mounted piece monument, which consists of white bulbs inspired by constructivist art. The first installation of the untitled was at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1975.

It speaks about architectural difference and boundaries. The sculpture-series recreates the architectural environment, it sets barriers making the room where the continuum is installed to appear as an infinite of the sculpture itself. And it creates a path in the space. The installation is composed of sculptural pieces varying in size and color.  By using industrial, somewhat regular fluorescent lights to produce artwork, Flavin shows how minimalist materials create powerful propositions about our environments and public spaces. The power lies in it that the every-day contest enters the museum space. What is this about, who am I when I walk this path? And this light brings me to the next door with words on capital letters that speak louder than I’m used to.

Dan Flavin&Barbara Kruger installations at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Now it is time to stop and look around again, or actually down, since the floor has a message. Barbara Kruger’s installation since August 2012 at the Hirshhorn Museum’s lower level lobby area mixes the architecture of the space into a complete mismatch. It draws us in with text written allover on the floors, walls, and on the escalator leading up. And the printed smileys amuse and terrorize the restrooms. Barbara Kruger’s installation Belief + Doubt, speaks a loud red, white and black language. The messages are those of the digital age. We dwell through the global consumerist culture, in which our omnipotence is created around a simple truth of “I shop therefore I am”, as stated in the most well-known work made by Kruger. The truth is, if we can say so in the days of pluralist opinions, that we need Barbara Kruger’s loud art. If the politics of the everyday, the human culture and the global age needs of the voice that has an innate power to speak with capital wordings, it is hers. Yet, as an artist Kruger is tricky avoiding the task of giving us simple reasons to be her fan and give complete answers why the words chosen in her art would set truth about anything. Say this, and don’t think you could destroy differences, and there is not a one truth?

“Belief is tricky because left to its own devices it can court a kind of surety, an unquestioning allegiance that fears doubt and destroys difference.” -Barbara Kruger

 

Barbara Kruger's installation at Hirshorn Museum
Barbara Kruger’s installation at Hirshhorn Museum

Kruger is the poet laureate of the age of the spectacle. In her early career, she was working for Conde Nast Publications in photography and design. In the late 1970s, the artist begun creating photomontages with found pictures adding texts in them that would alter or complicate the meaning of the images.  At the Hirshhorn Museum setting, printed vinyl words and sentences invite the public to get involved, ponder the words, and create their own meaning and association based on the moment and the environment. Meanings of these phrases are open-ended because the every-day life just is with all the power-structures that we face or try to avoid. But at the same time the words are not only words, they are shouting: get involved, speak out loud, speak freely, don’t be silent, there are so many important words! Both great installations are still on view in Washington D.C.

photos: FirstindigoandLifestyle
photos: FirstindigoandLifestyle
Categories
performance&dance

Dance meets art at Loretta Howard Gallery

Yvonne Rainer’s work Trio A (1966), is one of the most enchanting dance pieces of dance history that paved the way to contemporary and postmodern dance practices. It is an interesting choreographic work, not least because it is exhilarating from pure performance and performer points of view. How many times do contemporary performers get immersed in new projects, where choreographers and directors inquire effortless, non-virtuous task-oriented movements and behavior to use them as backbones for their pieces. This in fact is not so easy to accomplish at all. As what performer goes through is not so much about ‘performing’ from a merely audience seduction point of view, but follows more a neutral way of not-doing too much. This might sound complicated, but makes all sense when in dance the performers start tapping the space, letting their bodies organize the way through the space. The inheritance of this type of movement in dance, a meticulous way of appearing happens sometimes simultaneously in conjunction to things and objects. In sculptural and spatial terms, the dancer is like a living and moving human sculpture. But more than that, the art of dancing in this case is shaped also around imaginary objects, or spatial lines that cut through the architecture of space. In Trio A, it seems that the space and objects were a great source of inspiration for Rainer, acting as inner elements, and shaping the movement sequences. There are, of course, noticeable tricky movements and balancing included in the work, even when the dancer (herself in the original Trio A, which was part of a larger work The Mind Is a Muscle) would not make a full sequence of complicated turns, for example. In 1966, Trio A changed the dance scene by examining the possibilities of human movement. Rainer had learned from Merce Cunningham and John Cage to have different approach to the her audience or spectators in general. She also started to experiment with film using the same methods as in choreography.

When watching the composition of Trio A evolve on the video, it comes to mind that perhaps the biggest challenge is to maintain a calm steady movement flow. The work became a classic not only because it still makes powerful statements of what a composition and a performance is about; but stating a strong performer making the composition. It changed so much in the Western dance history.

Dance does not always get noticed among contemporary art forms, or is quite rarely placed in the art history like visual arts. When it appears to be paired together with and being a component of the visual arts as a performance art, or in conjunction of musical composition, it gets a different approach. The so-called post-modern dance era brought in new curiosities in terms of artistic collaborations that stretched beyond boundaries of different art forms and genres.

Loretta Howard Gallery opens on September 10 with a new exhibition entitled “Where Sculpture and Dance Meet: Minimalism from 1961 to 1979.” The gallery curates annually an historical exhibition, and this truly interesting archival exploration showcases videos of historic performances and sculptures associated with minimalism both in art and dance. The exhibit is timely as it is doing homage to ideas that are still in a dialogue setting current trends in visual arts and performance. The exhibition shows that choreographers and sculptors, for instance, used methods of composition that were known as subjective. Yvonne Rainer belongs to these artists who brought minimalism to dance. She did not eventually wish to include her Trio A showing into the gallery exhibition, but her historic rehearsal recording from Conneticut with a group of performers works as a good intro to her style.

In the exhibit, there is also a video of sculptor Robert Morris’ work,  in which a masked male performer performs with a sculpture created by Morris. In the 1960s, he built his early sculptures in Yoko Ono’s loft that also involved unique performance elements. Choreographer Simone Forti’s archival video of her piece Slantboard (1961), is an important addition to the exhibition. The work includes a platform in its center for performers to attach to and play with. The exhibit culminates around a piece Dance created by Lucinda Childs (original from 1979). The video is a double performance in a sense that Childs’ company performs in the background video when the Dance is recreated for stage. The choreography gathers an architectural sculpture from Sol LeWitt around it. Childs collaborated with the artist in set designs, and used music from composer Philip Glass.

Andy Warhol’s installation of helium filled pillows, Silver Clouds, adds an interesting story to the exhibition. Warhol created the pillows which then functioned as a set in Merce Cunningham’s dance work Rainforest (1968). Performers in this choreography encountered the clouds when they were floating across the stage. Cunningham often explored dancers and objects to create ‘random’ encounters, so it is great that the exhibition’s shows a performance video and the sets in the gallery space to make the central point come across.

In addition to the artists and collaborations mentioned, Loretta Howard Gallery displays Trisha Brown’s video Group Primary Accumulation (1973) as part of this archival display. The choreography explored altered understanding of the beauty and power with simple repetitive movements. Brown used principles of mathematics, modularity and repetition when composing the dance. Next to this video, there are minimalistic sculptures on the walls from Donald Judd, who created designs for some of Brown’s choreography. Then, a strong sculptural work is on display from Ronald Bladen.

The exhibition “Where Sculpture and Dance Meet: Minimalism from 1961 to 1979”, is curated by Wendy Perron, who is the author of “Through the Eyes of a Dancer” and former editor in chief of Dance Magazine. It is co-curated by Julie Martin, who is an independent scholar and currently Director of Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT). The exhibit is on display from September 10 until October 31st, 2015 at Loretta Howard Gallery, 525-531 West 26th Street, New York.

 

 

Categories
art review&curating asian art fine and contemporary art

Anish Kapoor returns to Italy with Descension

Anish Kapoor returns to Italy with a new exhibition Descension, a project produced specially for the former cinema and theatre space of Galleria Continua in San Gimignano. The exhibition takes its name from the installation Descension, which is a black whirlpool consisting of motor-powered water swirling towards its center. Interested in binary relations and opposite energies, Kapoor (born in Bombay in 1954, lives in London) poses alchemical questions with the large scale installation. It creates paradoxical ideas of matter, energy and the universe, which also touch our human core and perception. The exhibition opened on May 2 and will run until September 5, 2015.

The exhibition features a series of new sculptures in alabaster, in which the artist has meticulously carved out a more refined section. We can expect that the concepts of infinite and time are buried within their form and substance as they appear in nature. The intense red (and kind of orange) embedded in the translucent qualities of the alabaster sculptures suggest organic qualities. But idea travels well through the entire exhibition, which among alabaster includes a variety of mixed media works in fiberglass, paint, stainless steel, pigment and acrylic.

Anish Kapoor, exhibition view 'Descension', Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, 2015
Anish Kapoor, exhibition view ‘Descension’, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, 2015

Descension, the installation established by Kapoor in the stalls area of the cinema-theatre in San Gimignano, continues his earlier theme introduced as ‘Descent into limbo’ in 1992. The artist’s former work was presented respectively in Kassel, Germany as documenta IX; a Cubed building with a dark hole in the floor. In the middle of a cube, there was a kind of bottomless black hole opening up in the floor, which was “dragging” viewers with its powerful presence. The idea of Descension shows how Kapoor has an interest in non-objects and self-generated forms. In 2015, the installation destabilizes and undermines our perception of the earth as a solid element. The earth, perceived also as mother earth, is in constant flux and movement bringing forth a thrust downwards and towards an interior that is unknown and hidden from the visible world.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2015, stainless steel, Courtesy of Galleria Continua
Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2015, stainless steel, Courtesy of Galleria Continua

Kapoor has inevitably shown how he is reinventing his artistic language both in monumental dimension, as in more intimate pieces. His philosophical inquiry begun early with his very first works and has continued through to recent and more large-scale installations in museums and public spaces. His themes are partially alchemical, dealing with mystery and universality of time and space. But the human beings with their self-awareness and experiences is at the heart of his artistry as well.

”… all my life I have reflected and worked on the concept that there is more space than can be seen, that there are void spaces, or, as it were, that there is a vaster horizon. The odd thing about removing content, in making space, is that we, as human beings, find it very hard to deal with the absence of content. It’s the horror vacui. This Platonic concept lies at the origin of the myth of the cave, the one from which humans look towards the outside world. But here there is also a kind of Freudian opposite image, that of the back of the cave, which is the dark and empty back of being. Your greatest poet, Dante, also ventured into a place like that. It is the place of the void, which paradoxically is full – of fear, of darkness. Whether you represent it with a mirror or with a dark form, it is always the “back”, the point that attracts my interest and triggers my creativity.”

 

Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2015, Alabaster, Courtesy of Galleria Continua
Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2015, Alabaster, Courtesy of Galleria Continua

 

 

Galleria Continua, Via del Castello 11, San Gimignano (SI), Italia

Tel. +390577943134 | info@galleriacontinua.com | http://www.galleriacontinua.com

Descension opening: Saturday May 2, 2015, on view until September 5, 2015,

Monday–Saturday, 10am–1pm, 2–7pm

Categories
art review&curating frieze art fair

Visitor experiences at Frieze 2015

 

Brazilian artist Martha Araújo’s piece Para um corpo nas suas impossibilidades, (For a body in its impossilibities) was created in 1985. Now at 2015 Frieze Art Fair, we celebrate the corporeal experience at the skateboard ramp dressed in suits that are patched with Velcro straps. The user-experience is less of a performance, and more of a subjective experience, which is very much according to the manifesto written by the artist. Martha Araújo (born in 1943) wrote the following:

Believing in the impossible is also a way of making art, for it is to doubt the impossibilities that make our dreams and follies feasible. Our proposal consists of experiencing situations in which the body crawls (on the ground floor) and tries to climb vertically. It is a search to achieve utopia; an exercise in transcendence. For this we will wear two pairs of overalls with several strips of Velcro attached to them vertically and horizontally. We will also use  a runner rug measuring 6.00 x 2.00 m, stuck to a skate track-type wooden framework. The Velcro strips on the overalls are the elements that fix the bodies to the rug.

 

The project was curated in the Frame section of the art fair by Galeria Jaqueline Martins from São Paulo. The gallery won the prize for most innovative Stand Prize this year. The stand is comprised of the ramp and few suits, which the public can wear and then try the structure. The booth also has black and white photographs from 1985, which document artist Araújo and her crew experimenting with the concept. At Frieze, these photographs are on sale, and so are the suits. The ramp belonging to the artwork can be reproduced with the suits.

Another visitor intervention at the Frieze was Japanese artist Aki Sasamoto’s Coffee/Tea project. Being one of the Frieze 2015 Projects, the artist created a three-dimensional personal test experience that included multiple-choice questionnaire. The maze-like structure was among the gallery booths, having several rooms, in which visitors/viewers make a choice between two objects or situations. Different choices lead through rooms and doors and then to the exit, where participants discover which personality suits the course of actions they chose. Here is my test in photographic documentation.

In the beginning, the structure encourages you to think that you are boarding a spaceship, artist has written a dark statement on the wall:

The world is ending. You are selected to board a spaceship with one animal. Which will you bring? A. Peacock, B. Horse, C. Tiger, D. Sheep

As we don’t actually make this choice between four animals; we can choose to enter between two doors, one on the right and one on the left. Behind the left door there is a table with teacups and tea poured on them. Today I’m happy they would offer tea. Through my next choice, I’m encountering two kinds of blue on the floor; the other one looks like tiled, so will follow that one. Not quite getting the sitdown-point, where would have to ponder between the choices, rather stay moving and opening doors. Then, not quite sure how, suddenly entering the door with ‘intodetails’ exit floor mat in black-and-white. Feels like a fast experience. There was another blue, this time gymnastic mat on the floor with wooden board in the middle. A chance to balance a little bit, and the exit was right there.

Is there anything in common with these two art projects? Martha Araújo’s art dates back to the mid- 1980s, and Aki Sasamoto’s project is very recent. The getting-involvedness, and the intellectual mind vs. trust yourself and let your body lead the way -issue; has both of these projects. Sasamoto’s making choices project encounters also our bodily input, as this is about experience. The color blue seems to be a fascinating factor in both projects.  Araújo’s and Sasamoto’s projects will be living in the form of re-enactments. Being convinced that there will be more photography and live-documentations happening.

Categories
art review&curating women in art

Sarah Oppenheimer’s reoriented space

Sarah Oppenheimer’s installations and public art works “W-120301 x P-010100” were commissioned for the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Contemporary Wing which reopened after its complete renovation in 2012 (built in 1994). The two-part permanent art work was concretely made in conjunction with the architectural space. It involved cutting holes in the museum walls and ceilings of various galleries. The holes, then, were filled with panes of metal and reflective glass to create new dimension for viewing at the space and art on different galleries, including visitors – who happen to be wandering through spaces simultaneously; and are reached by multifaceted and virtually charged viewing. The holes created ‘sightlines’ between the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Contemporary Wing and through the wall between the contemporary and Cone collections. What the installation claim is that the museum visitors can get glimpses and optical illiusions into spaces that are on different levels. Oppenheimer’s works radicalize the notion of museum space from a contemporary virtual perspective. The ’holes in the walls’ change the viewer’s perception when he/she suddenly sees others randomly passing by their visual screen that the artwork is.  The unexpected encounters create experiences with others simultaneously in the museum. My own ‘looking-at’ the sightlines makes me perceive someone on the other part of the museum as if they were sharing my experience. Its partially theoretical, and yet is twisting seriously with the architecture. With this installation, we can view art museums from a new perspective, as if this kind of illusory tool enables us to grasp art simultaneously from various historical eras. The sightlines allow viewers to see unexpected views of fellow visitors, art works, and galleries above, below, and across from them.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is the first art museum to commission a site-specific installation by award-winning artist Sarah Oppenheimer. Anyone interested in Oppenheimer’s works would also say that the architectural dimension is much more than ”just” art. In fact, the installation combines art and curiosity borrowed from sciences that are engaged in visitors’ participation. The museum as architectural space and as encounters, interacts with its visitors and the institution’s daily life. The installation does not only play with space and our perception, but it encompasses it on a new level. Museum architectures might sometimes appear as ‘static’ and locked in particular histories.  The artist’s intervention of architectural space is a dynamic way to create interaction, encounters, and puzzles, and bring also art history discussions into new levels.

 Artist’s website:  http://www.sarahoppenheimer.com/

 

 

Categories
art review&curating fine and contemporary art women in art

Bortolami gallery’s exhibit shows 3 x minimalist encounters

Bortolami Gallery is one of the most innovative galleries in Chelsea’s vibrant art district. Currently it is hosting an exhibit for three artists who share an approach of minimalism. An exhibition is curated by Christine Messineo, and is titled in a punctuating manner: ”ANN VERONICA JANSSENS, KITTY KRAUS DANIEL STEEGMANN MANGRANÉ First lines, like first dates, or the first bite of dessert, can be deceptive.” Even if the works would not seduce you at the first glance, spending some time with the installation and connecting pieces, might make you fall in love. Stepping into the space, which itself is a constellation of whiteness, concrete floors and strong ceiling lights, puts you into a certain mood. The space tunes to receive the immaterial lightness of some works. On the other hand, some pieces makes you investigate your own perception.

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The exhibition title is taken from a text by Ann Beattie. She handles a theme of difficult of beginnings, asking where to start. If the beginnings can remain elliptical, the encounters may be unstable. A curatorial choice thereof has been to follow this principle, and create the exhibition around three artists with above question in mind. Ann Veronica Janssens, Kitty Kraus and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané present works all share experience which do not reveal, as ”First looks cannot be relied upon.

Ann Veronica Janssen’s career has been full of experiments with form and perception, testing our reflections into familiar forms and to spatiality. Also in this exhibition her pieces invite to reflect. Magic Mirror Pink holds a possibility for a mirror-effect. Disque Vert holds magical presence being placed on the back wall, immediately popping out from the white walls. It reminds of a musical instrument, but instead of making sound it whispers with deeper than surface reflection. All the miracle that Janssen’s three works play within the exhibition tell about ”scientific phenomenon or physical property of light—its ability to bend, to refract, to remain encased within a prism-like volume.” The artist’s sculpture IPE 130 is the center piece of the large installation room. This sculpture is a steel I-beam lying on the ground of the gallery. The top of the sculpture has been polished so it reflects your image, or the objects in the room that touch upon the surface. The purpose is to communicate with the architecture, as all Janssen’s works ultimately do.

The exhibit starts right when entering the gallery. First room with windows to the street is a small one. One immediately encounters Steegmann Mangrané’s sound installation. He has worked with sound that comes from seven speakers that are placed throughout the gallery; taking two rooms. The sound is composed as prolonged note played on the flute. ”The duration of each note corresponds to the lung capacity and stamina of the flautist, Joana Saraiva. As one note comes to its end, another note begins to play from different speaker in the gallery.” In this area, there is a need to find the source of the sound, which does not resonate clearly from the speakers. The art objects in the exhibition carry so much, so perhaps sound gets confused or finds ways to attach to different bodies. Mangrané has worked with notion of immateriality. The lightness of breath which is present in the musical notes creates meaning in conjunction to his sculptural works as well.  He has created several metal chains that hang from the ceiling that reach the floor intending to alter the viewer’s ability to negotiate the space. Additionally, a group of small cardboard sculptures appear as the most ethereal part of the show – which overall seems slightly prismic, metallic, or technologically referential. These are like masks made of sycamore tree bark. Their curved altered face-like shapes absorb the light creating shadows on the wall, ”seemingly lending mass to the immaterial.”

Kitty Kraus’s piece Untitled (Light Box) which, although it is situated in the small room in the back, has especially strong presence. ”Taking the form of a large pedestal, the sculpture casts a strong light from only a thin horizontal aperture that runs around the middle of the dark, rectangular volume.” As you go around the sculpture you can see it upon yourself thus becoming part of its field. The sculpture leaves out an emitted light line that draws the perimeter of the room. When people enter the room the light from outside communicates with the darkness of the sculpture and its surrounding space. White lines of the exterior space meet with the dark hollowing entity of the box, creating magical installation that eats up the space, almost disturbing the perception, and pointing to the trivial?

The exhibition will run until April 26, 2014

www.bortolamigallery.com

 

 

 

Categories
art review&curating fine and contemporary art

Erwin Redl: ‘InMotion’

Erwin Redl had his recent exhibition InMotion at Bitforms Gallery in New York City. He is known for works that emphasize perception, architectural space, kinetic elements, LED-installations, social space and corporeality. The Ohio-based artist visited the gallery himself, and spoke to visitors during the Armory Show week in March. It was fascinating to see how the ping-pong balls rise into the glass pipes in different rhythms making a specific sound-effect. Redl told that his background is in electronic music, which makes perfect sense. The glass pipes of ‘Levitate’ sculpture also reminds of an instrument like organ. It takes an entire wall, and has thirty-one vertically suspended glass pipes. Each of them has a fan installed on the bottom to propel a ping-pong ball up. The fans are then synchronized to create sequences. Acoustics in the small room is amazingly intimate fitting for the works.

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Another incredible installation was ‘Breath of Light’  that is composed of structures each having nine acrylic plates on them. The installations hang in the air and reflect beautiful configurations with green-colored laser beam. The mode of these plates is to go from transparent plain to an origami of variations that radiate around with green reflections. If ‘Levitate’ is fun and sound-oriented, ‘Breath of Light’ is deeper and  more mysterious. ‘The third installation, ‘Swing’ is a series of floor sculptures made of spring-loaded metal rods. It raises curiosity as an engineering project. The fans installed on top of the rods make them move or swing back and forth in an airy manner. The rods swing in formation, which makes them seem robotic, and less human-attached. The fourth one, ‘Inclined Plane’ propels ping-pong ball upward with fans. It is the most minimalistic one, perhaps a script for the project.

Erwin Redl is an Austrian-born artist, who is internationally acclaimed installation artist. His most large-in-scale public installation is Fetch (2010), which is a computer-controlled 580-foot long outdoor LED installation that he created for the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio.

…  InMotion related video at https://vimeo.com/86196863

…  More info on Erwin Redl’s web-site at www.paramedia.net

Categories
african art art review&curating volta art fair

Volta NY 14: Inzilo by Mohau Modisakeng

South African Mohau Modisakeng’s beautiful video Inzilo was an eye-catchers at VOLTA NY 2014. The slow-motion video opens up a theme of mourning from a personal point of view. Inzilo is a word that ”refers to a practice in some South African traditions around the loss of a loved one characterized by a period of mourning.” Dressed only in a piece of black garment and a hat, Mohau, as a solo performer goes through a process where he transits from one stage to the next. Sitting on a chair motionless, he first looks ethereal both arms stretched on his side, as the camera rotates slightly around the white room. Then he starts scattering, picking pieces of the burnt fabric (in this case wax) and ash from his hands. Gradually, it appears that as layers of burnt go, a new skin is revealed. The camera shows close-ups of his hands and feet covered with debris. Eventually, head bent down, he decides to get up, shakes and throws the remained pieces with a dust cloud in the air. His performance represents a rite of passage, a transition from mourning to normal.

Performing rituals is one powerful way to convey African indigenous, diasporic and post-apartheid messages via contemporary art. We have seen this happen in the dance works of South African choreographer Vincent Mantsoe, based in France. This similar kind of purity of emotions and thought comes across from Mohau Modisakeng’s video, which is a dialogue between a performance and the visual.

Mohau Modisakeng was represented at VOLTA NY 2014 by BRUNDYN + gallery from CAPE TOWN. The artist was born in Soweto. He lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 2009 and worked towards his Masters degree at the same institution. He was awarded the SASOL New Signatures Award for 2011. The artist was presented at VOLTA NY also in 2013.

visit BRUNDYN + gallery http://www.brundyngonsalves.com/gallery/

Categories
interviews performance&dance sustainability women in art

Many talents of Artist-Professor Pirjo Yli-Maunula

In June 2010, Finnish dancer and choreographer Pirjo Yli-Maunula was one of the four dancers to travel up the Muonio and Torne Rivers in Finnish Lapland. Their living and dancing installation River Woman was built on a ferry consisting of plastic bottles (about 25 000 plastic bottles were used to build a diameter of ten meters ferry, which operated a gliding dance-installation on a stage across the Muonio and Torne Rivers). Pirjo Yli-Maunula (being the main incubator of the project), dancer-choreographer Reijo Kela, and dancers Catherine and Anne Angeria were on a three-week river trip from Karesuvanto to Tornio performing to the audiences on the way. This dancing ferry is a kind of project that Pirjo Yli-Maunula would create, telling about how we are close to nature, and the nature is a stage for everything we do. Her performance projects – often taking place in the Northern Finland – have involved local audiences to participate and collaborate in mesmerizing ways.

Reijo Kela dances with Jokinainen
(Pirjo Yli-Maunula dances as Jokinainen/River Woman with dancer Reijo Kela on shore)

FI: What are you doing these days, you have quite a long career as an established choreographer and festival leader?

Pirjo: I am busy with many things: I am working as a choreographer and a dancer, artistic director, curator and a producer.

At the moment I am in the middle of creating a new duet with French choreographer-dancer William Petit. We are currently in Italy sharing a residency in Matera. We will have the premiere of ”Scars” in the beginning of November in Oulu in Northern Finland.

Then, this year our company Flow Productions started to arrange a series of visiting contemporary circus performances in Oulu. I have been busy curating, producing and arranging this series. I am hoping that we can continue with the series next year as well.

I just started to work again as the artistic director of Full Moon festival. I was in the job in 2004-2006. My current contract is for 2014-16.

FI: You went to Cardiff couple of weeks ago, was this your first time in the festival?

Pirjo: Yes, this was my first time in World Stage Design – festival. The week was intense, very interesting and great experience as a whole.

FI: It seems that your international networking abilities are tremendous, you have been able to attract visitors to come to Finland, where did you learn these skills?

Pirjo: I have learnt through the work itself. My different jobs have helpt me to build up the network. It is great to jump from the position of an artist to the position of a artistic director or funder or producer. Those different points of view help me to understand the bigger picture of the art world.

FI: How multidisciplinary are you as an artist, what are your modes and styles of working?

Pirjo: I am very much interested in working collaboratively with artists from different art forms. I have worked with artists in the fields of video, music, photography, new circus, theater, literature, games, new media, as well as costume, light and sound design.

Every production and process is different: I have created not just contemporary dance pieces on stage but also dance-installations, site-specific works, dancevideo or works that could be considered as live art.

I strive to create complete, meticulous works of art which nevertheless build upon improvisation and spur-of-the-moment insight.

FI: What did you gain by attending WSD2013 in Cardiff?

Pirjo: I was inspired by many things in the exhibition, meeting of other artists, and the overall exciting atmosphere of the festival.

FI: Who are the people that influence you the most?

Pirjo: I feel that the other artists that have worked with me have influenced me the most. As I am often also producing or co-producing my own work I am lucky to be able to build dream teams, where I can learn and get inspired by others.

FI: Where do you see yourself in the future, what dreams do you hold within you?

Pirjo: I would love to spend time in longer residencies and tour abroad more. I have quite an extensive repertoire that I believe would be interesting. For instance our multidisciplinary creation Susurro, that I also performed in Cardiff, would be a perfect piece to show for instance in Japan or South-Korea. I would like to tour in South American countries as well.

FI: Name your most important collaborations, and why?

Pirjo: I could talk about a number of different people and various different works. But if I would be allowed to mention just a couple I would definitely talk about French choreographer William Petit and Finnish light designer Jukka Huitila as I have worked with them so much.

I have known William since 2004. I have danced in his work and we have co-created pieces together. The intimacy, authenticity and bravery that we have found while dancing together has been very important to me. That has had an impact to my other work as well.

The collaboration with Jukka Huitila has also been vitally important to me. His sensitivity, openness, generosity, intelligence and creativity are superb. His input seems to always deepen the work. The trust that we have in each other has helped me to grow as a person and as an artist.

From the collaborative pieces that I have done I am maybe most happy about these two: Karsikko and Susurro. They have both been an adventure to something completely new as a form of art.

Susurro
(Pirjo Yli-Maunula in Susurro)

 

Susurro

FI: Last but not least, how does Finnish landscape help in creating your works, what would you like to say about our climate, the landscape, Northerness, Lapland and the nature?

Pirjo: Many of my pieces reflect my relationship with the natural environment, as well as natural phenomena and seasons of the Northern landscape. For instance my work Karsikko (co-created with dancer-choreographer Titta Court) is based on a tree and animal characters, and it derives from nature´s materials and soundscapes.

LINKS:
Pirjo Yli-Maunula showreel: https://vimeo.com/73019936
Susurro trailer: https://vimeo.com/65130595
Karsikko trailer: https://vimeo.com/35430024

www.flowprod.fi
http://www.fullmoondance.fi/
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Categories
design volta art fair

Paolo Cavinato at VOLTA

Paolo Cavinato, RILIEVO #2 CUCINA CON PRESENZA
Paolo Cavinato, LIBERATION #2
Italian artist Paolo Cavinato was presented at VOLTA NY 2013 by Milanese Massimo Carasi Gallery. Cavinato is an artist using diverse techniques that enhance spaces from multi-sensorial perspective. Cavinato’s training as set-designer and interior designer, perhaps creates the point of view that makes the reality, or the space we usually inhabit a suspension. He does fascinating interior research works with wood, iron, nylon and acrylic. Yet, these works represent schemes for something bigger and more in meta-scale. As, on the other hand, his many TEATRINO-projects display the depth of a meta-structure. They are intriguing indeed, and can be viewed at his webpage. Art and design, language, conception, architecture, interiors, houses, are all mixed as a form of existentialism of being.
Paul Cavinato, TEATRINO