The IVAM shows the original essay by Robert Rauschenberg and Trisha Brown

The ephemeral nature of the dance results in a tense relationship with its past. Traditionally, the vast majority of choreographers have opted for the deconstruction of some styles, others have continued to repeat certain patterns, adapting them to the needs of each moment, and others resist the traditionally established precepts in order to contribute new ones. artistic languages. In many cases, these new contributions have a very short life, especially after the death of these choreographers, but nevertheless, proposals such as those of the IVAM with the exhibition that it hosts since November 19
Case Study, Glacial Decoy, Robert Rauschenberg-Trisha Brown,

curated by Teresa Millet

achieves by far one of the most important challenges of contemporary art: an exhaustive documentation of those ephemeral artistic manifestations.

This show, which is located in gallery 3 of the IVAM, should be understood as one of the best examples of collaboration between choreographer Trisha Brown and visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, who worked together for decades. But this exhibition is above all the result of the union of two artistic disciplines that were in the process of experimentation in the 50s, 60s and 70s, as the director of the IVAM pointed out, Nuria Enguita: dance and the visual arts; And it is the 60’s characterized by its interdisciplinary scene that arose largely from the influence of the teachings of John Cage and various fluxus artists. The courses and meetings that took place at Black Mountain College throughout the fifties constitute a key moment to understand the evolution of the second avant-gardes, as well as to explain the emergence of a new field of artistic experiences that explodes in the sixties.

This exhibition exhibits five works from the series “Glacial Decoy” de 1979 de Robert Rauschenberg, which have been part of the IVAM collection since 1993. But it also includes recordings of the choreography performed by the Trisha Brown Dance Company where the scenography designed by Rauschenberg is shown in a projection consisting of six hundred and twenty slides that can be seen on four large screens . The inclusion of the slides was in full accordance with the choreography; The images, which seem to migrate from one screen to the next, from left to right echo the passage of the dancers, who slide back and forth as if they were some kind of editing machine. The photographs that were part of the scenography were in black and white, in part, strongly related to the “glacial” concept of this composition. These were taken in Fort Myers, Florida and are also found in Rookery Mounds (1979) another series of impressions of the artist simultaneous to Glacial Decoy (1979-1980).

Both of them tried to “divest themselves of any story” in this work, music, as a narrative element, had to be withdrawn, and the focus of attention should be exclusively on dance, as an abstract and free concept; Hence, the need for the costumes to not be so elaborate and allow greater movement, these costumes ended up becoming diaphanous white dresses. This flexible and free movement creates a sensual bounce when women unfold their limbs as if they were a fan. They are in a continuous state of rebounding: after a kick with the flexed foot, they curve around an invisible curve. In fact, this work synthesizes one of the choreographer’s predilections, gravity. The artist explored the physics of simple actions such as walking, falling and bending, and this led her to complex investigations such as the one illustrated in this case study. And it is that Trisha Brown, like Simone Forti or Yvonne Rainer, joined that trend that rejected academic virtuosity seeking inspiration in everyday life, experimenting directly on the surrounding space of the studio, simplifying gestures to the maximum.

Glacial Decoy is currently considered one of Brown’s masterpieces for its stealthy criticism of the proscenium, in fact, one of the final moments of the choreography is characterized by taking a line of dancers outside and inside the wings, as if It was a conveyor belt, suggesting that the stage and the dance go on forever. This choreography is also defined as “a great feminist work” defined by “a complexity that for me could only be characterized as feminine”, this is how Stephen Petronio, choreographer, and lead male dancer of the Trisha Brown Dance Company relates. “It goes from state to state very quickly,” he said, noting its quirky changes to cool and exuberantly romantic. “

This exhibition is therefore a good example of the magnificent collaboration of two great artists who were fundamental in the development of postmodern dance; the sample is completed with photographs, magazines and documentation on “Glacial Decoy” and the collective folder dedicated to Merce Cunningham in 1974The artistic couple met in Cunningham’s studio with whom Rauschenberg had collaborated since the 1950s in New York. Therefore, in addition to showing us the work of the two magnificent artists, they are contextualized in a framework of artistic effervescence.

Teresa MIllet also opens with the design of this exhibition, which can be visited until April 18, 2021, a debate that spans a century of images of moving bodies: the one that refers to the correspondence between live performance (in the stage, in the gallery, or in the museum) of those bodies, and their filming. From exhibitions like
Case Study, Glacial Decoy, Robert Rauschenberg-Trisha Brown
an attempt is still being made to clarify whether the audiovisual record of practices that have the body as a central element – contemporary dance and artistic performance – faithfully captures their supposed inherent truth.

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