Siobhan Davies Dance: Material / Rearranged / To / Be at the Barbican
To the sound of a ticking clock, curiosity is piqued on entering Siobhan Davies’s Material / Rearranged / To / Be exhibition by a serenely unfolding installation combining dance, video and conceptual performance. The show includes work by choreographers Andrea Buckley, Charlie Morrissey, Helka Kaski, Efrosini Protopapa and Matthias Sperling; artists Emma Smith, Jeremy Millar, Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren; art historian Aby Warburg; and dance theorist Dr Scott deLahunta. It is also a collaboration with four scientists: neurophysiologist Jonathan Cole, cognitive psychologist Guido Orgs, neuroscientist Anil Seth and cognitive scientist professor Guy Claxton
A cerebral melding of philosophy and dance, this multimedia exhibition is comprised of dancers, black and white videos thereof, performers creating floor designs using a measuring tape, pendulums, written statements of ideas and intentions, and on several large sheets of parchment, detailed descriptions of each performed gesture.
A dancer is superimposed in movement four times on video, as if in different dimensions. Placards impart information about ideas that inspired the artwork: among others, the subject of taxonomy from sources such as Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, and thoughts on the precise nature of time, action and perception.
In the final piece figures taken from various works are animated on video; they appear, disappear and change spatial context, alternating juxtaposition with each other like Regency dancers. The imagery repeats itself throughout epochs: this spatial variation expands the history of art into infinity. If reassembled, it’s an observation of the meaning of art history.
Examining the interconnection between body and mind, dancer and awareness within movement, Siobhan Davies believes we tend to overemphasise the psychological at the expense of the physical body, and that everything we think and feel happens within our entire selves, not in fragmented parts. She suggests this notion applies also to art history, in her view a universal, timeless medium, defying categorisation and definition.
An exhibit that inspires contemplation, philosophical analysis and questions, Material / Rearranged / To / Be is an innovative and fascinating exploration of the relationship between art and science, dance and thought: an opportunity to rethink traditional viewpoints and expand perception.
Siobhan Davies Dance: Material / Rearranged / To / Be is at the Barbican from 20th until 28th January 2017, for further information visit here.
For further information about Siobhan Davies Dance visit here.