Marie Chouinards sexually charged debut program witnesses dancers locked up like zoo animals then unleashed, while Vladimir Putin is taunted with scourges and made to dance with a Nubian Queen
A naked female perforates her body frequently against a wall, her idiom conceal by the dark autumn of hair comprising her face. A pale, serious boy moves a lonely footpath through a crowd of onlookers, his limbs float, warping and buckling to low-level electronic music. A middle-aged person in a knitted cap and lifeguards case wipes the flooring, talking all the while about the push to cleanse his life.
There is nothing new about visual skill that blurs into performance, or disco that verges on facility, but at Venice this year the question of categories feels interestingly loaded. Daina Ashbees Unrelated and Benot Lachambres Lifeguard are the first and third affairs described above, yet while they feature in the programme that has been put together by the jig biennales brand-new artistic director, Marie Chouinard, neither duty cuddles traditional different modes of choreography. The dreamy street-dance solo, meanwhile, comes from Anne Imhofs Faust, a five-hour happening that is sucking “the worlds largest” crowd at the artwork 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 changed the interior of the German pavilion into glass enclosures within which individuals or a small number of musicians are restricted. As we walk past or even above them, we can observe these young men and women engaged in their own variously stolid, hostile or sexual works, as if they were laboratory specimen or swine in a zoo.
Those glass walls and ceilings start to feel like an absolute partition, turning us into voyeurs and the performers into objectives even when theyre exhibiting clues of menacing behaviour. It comes as a scandalizing change of power when the musicians are sporadically let out of their cadres and allowed to dance among us, taking abrupt mastery of the opening and asserting their primacy over our clumsy, self-conscious bodies.
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