Long Beach, CA 90840-0004
Split Moment examines the modes artists utilize to appropriate and engage performance by contextualizing issues such as viewership, mediation, and presence. Josh Azzarella, Trisha Brown, Jocelyn Foye, Babette Mangolte, Kelly Nipper, Yvonne Rainer, and Flora Wiegmann question the importance of witnessing the live event, and explore the division between the recording of the performance and its adaptation into other media. For these artists, performance is composed of a series of split moments—a play between movements and the liminal space between them—potentially as meaningful in their absence as when visible. Split Moment experiments with negative space, bringing focus to what cannot be seen. Movement is performed by way of drawing, film, sculpture and photography—removing the medium’s reliance on the live event and thus readdressing its temporalizing and spatial relationships.
The paradigms in which contemporary artists explore these topics are foregrounded in the work of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer—founding members of the seminal postmodern collective, the Judson Dance Theatre. Their direct impact on later generations of artists can be found throughout the contemporary work featured in the exhibition. For example, Babette Mangolte’s installation is entirely comprised of documentation of the Judson dancers. Jocelyn Foye uses documental photography to supplement her sculptural relief paintings, her objects often deriving their form from the live event. Also employing photography in this case, Kelly Nipper’s Interval belies documentation as it enacts a performance-like relationship to the viewer. Flora Wiegmann emphasizes the gap between frames in her film, Wandering (Still), a dance choreographed from two still photographs depicting expressionist dancer Mary Wigman’s company. Josh Azzarella applies the theoretical tools of postmodern dance when he removed all figures and images from Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video. In its entirety, Split Moment demonstrates contemporary engagements in expanded definitions of dance, art, performance and presence.