Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: Work/Travail/Arbeid

Can choreography be performed in the form of an exhibition?

This question is the starting point for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's. To answer that question, one of today's most important dancer/choreographers reimagined her stage performance Vortex Temporum (2013)—choreographed to the eponymous work by the late French composer Gérard Grisey—for a museum space, away from a conventional theater setting, this time at MoMa. She reinterpreted her dance performance Vortex Temporum(2013), which was originally performed in a theater, for the radically different temporal and physical circumstances of a museum; the original length of the work was expanded into cycles of nine hours, and it was adapted to the specific characteristics of the space. The original version of the exhibition, at the WIELS centre for contemporary art, Brussels, lasted nine weeks in 2015. An abridged travel version of the exhibition will be re-choreographed and re-created for the unique space of MoMA’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium for nine consecutive days.

With Work/Travail/Arbeid project the artist goes even further in shaping her choreography in terms of the practices and protocols of an exhibition as opposed to those of theatrical performance: there is no stage, no set, no frontality, no beginning or end, and the public is not only positioned on the same plane as the dancers and musicians but can move freely among them.

This project is not only a performance. It is included in the framework of new performance formats & audience development research. It invites the audience to have a continuous accessibility during the whole choreography. The result is a project that transforms the very material conditions that have long been essential to dance—and in particular the rigorous structure and choreographic language for which De Keersmaeker is known—into an entirely new form of exhibition. The expanded duration of Work/Travail/Arbeid reveals new insights into the complex conceptual, technical, and physical labor that is essential to the practice of dance

This performance is not De Keersmaeker’s first project to be performed in the museum space; in 2011 she performed the solo Violin Phase, part of her very first piece, Fase: Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich (1982), in MoMA's Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. But with Work/Travail/Arbeid the artist imagines the choreography as an exhibition. The dancers from De Keersmaeker’s company, Rosas, and the musicians, from the Ictus ensemble, are not simply bringing dance into a museum, they are reinterpreting dance in the space of MoMA's Marron Atrium in the form of a five-day exhibition, accessible continuously to the audience during public hours. The original hourlong piece has been expanded to a nine-hour cycle, with each hour offering different choreography and combinations of seven dances and seven musicians.

Work/Travail/Arbeid is an itinerant exhibition, first staged at WIELS in Brussels over nine weeks in 2015; then at Centre Pompidou; and then moving to Tate Modern in London. Each space presented different challenges of adaptation and reconceptualization, a dynamic that continues with the version being re-choreographed and re-created for the unique dimensions of MoMA’s Marron Atrium. The version was first staged at WIELS in Brussels over nine weeks in 2015, in two adjacent art galleries. It was then performed over nine days in 2016 at Centre Pompidou, Paris, in a big square space with glass walls that made the city outside seem very present.

Exhibition dates at Moma

Wednesday, March 29, -11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Floor 2, Marron Atrium

Thursday, March 30,-11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Floor 2, Marron Atrium

Friday, March 31,- 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Floor 2, Marron Atrium

Saturday, April 1,- 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Floor 2, Marron Atrium

Sunday, April 2,- 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Floor 2, Marron Atrium

Concept and choreography: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
Original curator: Elena Filipovic
Artistic consultant: Ann Veronica Janssens
Dramaturgy: Bojana Cvejić
Artistic assistant: Femke Gyselinck
Dancers: Boštjan Antončič, Frank Gizycki, Carlos Garbin, Marie Goudot, Cynthia Loemij, Sarah Ludi, Julien Monty, Michaël Pomero, Camille Prieux, Gabriel Schenker, Igor Shyshko, Denis Terrasse, Thomas Vantuycom, Samantha van Wissen
Music: Gérard Grisey, "Vortex Temporum" (1996)
Musicians: Ictus
Music director: Georges-Elie Octors
Piano: Jean-Luc Plouvier
Flute: Chryssi Dimitriou
Clarinet: Dirk Descheemaeker
Violin: Igor Semenoff
Viola: Jeroen Robbrecht
Cello: Geert De Bièvre
Costumes: Anne-Catherine Kunz
Technical direction: Joris Erven
Sound engineer: Alexandre Fostier
Technicians: Michael Smets
Artistic coordination and planning: Anne Van Aerschot
Costumes coordination: Heide Vanderieck

Wednesday, March 29–Sunday, April 2, 2017

11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. daily, and until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31