In relation to the installation Space Embodied in Het Nieuwe Instituut, historian Irina Sirotkina delivers a lecture on the stormy development of this ‘free dance’ and its philosophical context. Through a performance presentation the artist Alexis Blake will explore the parallels of the exhibition to her recent research and performance Conditions of an Ideal. Moderator is Jacq. Algra.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Programme students & Friends of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75
Thursday Night Dinner (without programme)€ 17,50
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Russian artists went in search of ‘the new man’. This quest also found its expression in dance. In contrast to the academic patterns of classical ballet, choreographers developed a new dance form based on more natural movements.
In this period more than ever before, the human body was the subject of artistic experimentation. Particularly in Russia, where the revolution aimed to bring about a complete change in society and therefore also in art, the avant-garde focussed on the creation of a new, free man. In her lecture The Sixth Sense of the Avant-Garde: Dance, Movement, Kinaesthesia, Irina Sirotkina will discuss the philosophical context in which this free dance form developed and paint a picture of the appeal the human body exerted on the Russian avant-garde.
Through a performance presentation the artist Alexis Blake will explore the parallels of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s exhibition’s Space Embodied: The Russian Art Movement 1920-1930 to her recent research and performance, Conditions of an Ideal. By sampling and weaving together the two archives’ movements and gestures, Blake will be questioning: why this period of history is being re-visited and addressed in our present day, the subjective body vs. the objective body, what a ‘free body’ would mean in the context of today and what does it mean to embody the gestures and movements of yesterday?
Conditions of an Ideal, which was recently presented in the Parthenon Gallery at the British Museum, questions historical representations of the idealized female body. Referencing Diana Watts and Dora Menzler’s contributions to the women’s physical culture movement of the early 20th Century, which drew inspiration from Greek philosophy, history and ideals, and the appropriation of this physical culture movement by fascist regimes, this choreographic work explores notions of national collective identity vs personal expression through democratic movements, principles of balance and perceptions of beauty.
This Thursday Night relates to the exhibition Space Embodied. The Russian Art of Movement 1920-1930.
Thursday Night Dinner
Join us for a special dinner with the speakers at 18.30 hours, before the Thursday Night event. Prepared with fresh, organic products, dinner is served in Het Nieuwe Café and costs €17.50, including drinks. Make sure you reserve a seat at least a day in advance.
Irina Sirotkina, PhD, is Researcher at the Institute for the History of Science and Technology, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Lecturer at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. Her current interest is in the history of dance and movement culture. She recently published two books: Free Movement and Modern Dance in Russia (Moscow: The New Literary Observer, 2012) and The Sixth Sense of the Avant-garde: Dance, Movement and Kinaesthesia in the Lives of Poets and Artists (Saint-Petersburg: European University Press, 2014; the second enlarged edition in 2016). She also writes dance criticism and practises an early-modern-dance form, musical movement.
Alexis Blake has a multidisciplinary practice that coalesces visual art and performance through various methods of translation such as: choreography, sculpture, video, text and/or script. In doing so she explores the language of movement, creates spaces to expose and elude systems of representation and mechanisms of subjectivisation, and aims to reformulate the relationship between the object and the subject. Her work has been presented in the British Museum, London, UK, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. She recently finished a residency at the Delfina Foundation, London, UK and is nominated for De Volkskrant Fine Arts Prize.