Marie Chouinards sexually accused debut program reads dancers locked up like zoo animals then released, while Vladimir Putin is razzed with flogs and made to dance with a Nubian Queen
A naked maiden punches her body repeatedly against a wall, her show concealed by the dark descend of fuzz considering her face. A pallid, serious boy moves a lonely path through a crowd of observers, his limbs drift, warping and fastening to low-level electronic music. A middle-aged man in a knitted cap and lifeguards jacket wipes the storey, talking all the while about the advise to cleanse his life.
There is nothing brand-new about visual artistry that blurs into performance, or jig that verges on installing, but at Venice this year the question of categories feels interestingly loaded. Daina Ashbees Unrelated and Benot Lachambres Lifeguard are the first and third happenings described above, hitherto while they feature in the programme that has been put together by the jig biennales new artistic administrator, Marie Chouinard, neither drive hugs traditional modes of choreography. The languorous street-dance solo, meanwhile, comes from Anne Imhofs Faust, a five-hour incident that is depicting the largest army at the art biennale and whose language 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 altered the interior of the German pavilion into glass assemblies within which private individuals or small groups of performers are detained. As we saunter past or even above them, we are going to be able observe these young men and women engaged in their own variously stolid, unfriendly or sex activities, 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 signs of menacing practice. It comes as a appalling reversion of superpower when the performers are sporadically let out of their cells and allowed to dance among us, taking abrupt mastery of the space and insisting their supremacy over our tricky, self-conscious bodies.
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