Marie Chouinards sexually accused introduction program investigates dancers locked up like zoo animals then loosed, while Vladimir Putin is taunted with lashes and made to dance with a Nubian Queen
A naked woman perforates her body repeatedly against a wall, her face obscured by the dark descent of fuzz comprising her face. A sallow, serious teenager dances a solitary itinerary through a gang of onlookers, his limbs drift, warping and buckling to low-level electronic music. A middle-aged man in a knitted detonator and lifeguards casing cleans the floor, talking all the while about the push to cleanse his life.
There is nothing brand-new about visual art that blurs into performance, or dance that verges on installation, but at Venice this year issues of categories feels interestingly loaded. Daina Ashbees Unrelated and Benot Lachambres Lifeguard are the first and third events described above, yet while they feature in the programme that has been put together by the dance biennales new artistic director, Marie Chouinard, neither operate hugs traditional modes of choreography. The languorous street-dance solo, meanwhile, comes from Anne Imhofs Faust, a five-hour occurrence that is attracting “the worlds largest” bunch at the art biennale and whose expression is heavily predicated on dance.
The agency of the body is a key topic of Faust, often because its cast are forced into situations of unsettling passivity. Imhof has transformed the interior of the German pavilion into glass assemblies within which private individuals or a small number of musicians are held. As we stroll past or even above them, we can observe these young men and women engaged in their own variously listless, hostile or sexual acts, as if the latter are laboratory specimens or swine in a zoo.
Those glass walls and ceilings start to feel like an absolute fraction, turning us into voyeurs and the musicians into objectives even when theyre exhibiting signalings of threatening action. It comes as a stunning reversal of strength when the musicians are periodically let out of their cells and allowed to dance among us, taking sudden bid of the infinite and declaring their dominance over our awkward, self-conscious bodies.
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