Friday, 30 November 2007


A Choreographed Exhibition / Eine Choreographierte Ausstellung
With Jonah Bokaer, Philippe Egli, Karl Holmqvist, Jennifer Lacey, Roman Ondak, Michael Parsons, and Fia Backstrom & Michael Portnoy. An exhibition by Mathieu Copeland.

‘A Choreographed Exhibition’ is an exhibition only composed of movements. For over a month and a half, three dancers from the Tanzkompanie Theater St. Gallen are present in the kunsthalle during the opening hours to perform in space the choreography of movements, patterns and choreographed gestures, following the scores and instructions as provided by the invited artists, dancers, and choreographers.

In a space where nothing is present but the dancers, in a the gallery left empty, only the opening hours of the gallery (2pm – 6pm expect Saturdays & Sundays from 1pm – 5pm) and the length of the exhibition (each days between Wednesday and Sunday included from the 1st of December 2007 until the 13th January 2008) gives the time (the rhythm?) to all the pieces. ‘A Choreographed Exhibition’ considers choreography and dance, movements in space and in time, as the gestures become an abstraction of forms choreographed in the space of the Kunsthalle. A succession of movements, where ultimately only the memory of these gestures remain.

The succession of choreographed pieces, each commissioned for the exhibition, discusses the inscription of movements in space, of artworks in time. Roman Ondak communicates an attitude of disdain in his piece ‘Insiders’, requesting the dancers to wear their clothes inside-out and to ignore their surrounding reality. Michael Parsons re-actualises his seminal ‘Walking Piece’ from 1968, and through a new score instructs the three dancers on how to walk in the space of the Kunsthalle, thus generating an open piece of visual music. Karl Holmqvist creates a polyphony of voices in asking the dancers to read different lyrics from various songs whilst performing cleaning gestures. Fia Backstrom & Michael Portnoy in this unique collaboration create a piece reminiscent of the 1960s experimental theatre, where a game structure is intertwined with live reading of the stock exchange. Philippe Egli 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. Jonah Bokaer with ‘Three Cases Amnesia’ writes a choreography for any three dancers who mediate the space of the Kunsthale, and that of their bodies and expressions, as so many germs of elements to come (and disseminate) thus generating a choreography of movements formed & filtered through several layers of writing, ultimately mediated by the dancers. As the link between all the pieces and in a desire to bring the inside out, Jennifer Lacey develops a piece that intervenes in-between all the pieces, and therefore within the core of the exhibition.

All pieces are performed as the day evolves, yet at any given time the viewers are only confronted to a succession of solo shows, one piece by one artist, as only in the entire time of the day and solely throughout its whole duration is the group exhibition revealed. Similarly to dance & performance, ‘A choreographed exhibition’ is a mode of production that produces no objects, and as such affirms its political standpoint in an oversaturated world. The exhibition considers movements as the means to produce ephemeral art pieces, as the works only exists for the time it takes for the dancers to inscribe them in space. Through their execution in time these pieces generate an exhibition of movements, and thus structure the movements of the exhibition as an ephemeral environment, or in other words, as a choreographed exhibition.

‘A Choreographed Exhibition’ is an exhibition co produced by the Kunsthalle St Gallen and La Ferme du Buisson .

Le geste est notre état d’esprit / A gesture is our state of mind

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