Gestus, conceived by Video Sound Art, was the first exhibition project hosted in the space of the Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi, in Venice. The exhibition is divided into two acts and is inspired by the reflections on the body by the great theatre masters of the 20th century (Artaud, Copeau, Decroux, Mejerchol’d). It investigates physical language as an activator of a transformative, spiritual and social dynamic. The whole project is conceived as a constantly evolving body reified by two pairs of performers and a chorus of performers.
Act I: Refashioning the Body
15 October – 24 November 2021
Works by: Enrique Ramirez and Luca Trevisani
Performances by: Enrique Ramirez, Andrea di Lorenzo and Caterina Gobbi
L’homme sans image
El lamento del velero invertido
El lamento del pájaro y el bote invertido
In the video work L’homme sans image (The Imageless Man), the protagonist dances in the abyss, shrouded in a sail. The body adheres to the folds of the sea, seemingly becoming part of it, moving with the aquatic fluidity of seaweed, as if in the maternal womb. An unusual instrument, the ocaina, composes the sculptural work El lamento del velero invertido, which uses the same fluidity to produce high-pitched sounds through the movement of liquids. The whistles of this mysterious object linked to Andean culture rhythmically scan the time of the exhibition and the evolution of the body within it. Lastly, the artist presented the sound performance El lamento del pájaro y el bote invertido, which combines the melody of the whistling bottle with sound recordings of the city of Venice that he himself collected – footsteps, water, sounds of boats. A dramatic construction that invites the audience to become aware of the noise we create in the place where we live.
Daniel Day Lewis
L 38° 11’ 13.32’ N 13° 21’ 4.44’ E
(Don’t )Try This at Home
Daniel Day Lewis is a series of sculptures started in 2021 after three years of careful study and experiments. All the pieces are based on the shape of running shoes, with living creatures and natural elements (such as octopuses, shells and starfish) layered onto them, showing how the traces of the roads they have travelled have fused with the shoes themselves, as if those feet had collected the shapes of the sea over their long walks through the ocean.
The same stratifications and decompositions can be seen in (Don’t) Try This at Home, vegetable fibres are transformed into bio-plastics with organic shapes, and in L 38° 11′ 13.32′ N 13° 21′ 4.44′ E, a video work realised in the Sicilian Addaura caves, a symbol of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature.
Foglie di fico
Andrea Di Lorenzo presented a static performance with sculptural qualities. The artist placed himself within a bush of fig leaves – made entirely of concrete and iron – and remained emotionless for several hours. All that is visible of his body was a section of his legs, making it difficult for the observer to discern whether there was a person or simply a mannequin inside. Through an arduous process of stopping all movement, the human body melds into the plant body, with apparently opposing rhythms approaching one another until they fall into sync. Andrea Di Lorenzo left a trace of the performance in the Theatre until the end of the first act.
Had there been anyone to listen
Deep, deep underground, beyond the range of any human ear, subterranean and surface movements create majestic melodies. With the use of special microphones, Caterina Gobbi has sampled these vibrations in the areas of Mont Blanc. A collection of hypogeal voices which the artist presented with an unprecedented sound-based performance, sparking reflections on perceptions of and relationships between man, machine and nature. During the performance, the artist moved around wearing a copper structure with loudspeakers attached to it. As she walks, Gobbi played the sounds sampled high in the mountains, using the structure as if it were an extension of her body.
Caterina Gobbi left a trace of the performance in the Theatre until the end of the first act.
Act II: The Assembly of Actions
1 December 2021 – 15 January 2022
Works by: Ludovica Carbotta and Driant Zeneli
Performances by: Ludovica Carbotta, Annamaria Ajmone and Driant Zeneli
Ludovica Carbotta presented her series Monowe Il tribunale in a fragmented form. The paradox of a legal body belonging to a city composed of a single inhabitant leads the audience to question the difference between justice and the act of saving the self. In a world where individualism prevails over the individual, how could a court function?
No wise Fish would escape without flying
How deep can a Dragonfly swim under the Ocean?
Driant Zeneli uses the language of utopia to expand the limits of the body. Brechtianly, utopian fiction does not try to appear realistic, rather through the estrangement it produces it helps the viewer question ordinary logic. In this way Zeneli, in The Animals: Once Upon A Time… In the Present Time trilogy, makes a goldfish and a shark chase each other inside the brutalist architecture of the National Library of Kosovo (No Wise Fish Would Escape Without Flying); or he tells the fantastic but real story of a person wrongly imprisoned for twenty years who nevertheless manages to cultivate his dream of flying through the creation of small robotic dragonflies (How Deep Can a Dragonfly Swim Under the Ocean?).
About a Citizen Beyond All Suspicion
In the performance About a Citizen Beyond All Suspicion Benedetta Barzini played the hypothetical citizen taking on the roles of defendant, defence, prosecution and jury simultaneously. Perceiving himself in the third person, he becomes a stranger to his own actions, like Brecht’s actor who has to “keep his distance.” In this image, the body of the second part of the exhibition is realised: it mutates both physically and mentally to the point of becoming other than its individuality.
Wednesday 1st December, h 19.00
Senza titolo (Untitled) is a performance consisting of three acts that takes place at three different points over the course of the day, each lasting thirty minutes. The space created by and for the dance uses effective and immediate encounters between the active elements, the works of other artists that adorn and animate the foyer of the Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi, and the movement and position of the audience. The costumes worn, created by Fabio Quaranta for the performance, are part of the web of stimuli and suggestions that influence the actions. There are no written instructions to follow, no tasks or guidelines set out in advance. The composition is constructed in the very moment when it is acted out. The audience is encouraged to move around, get distracted, get bored, or even do something else entirely.
Place or space? Every step arrives at a place.
If you care where you are then we will care also.
J. Burrows. A Choreographer’s Handbook
Senza titolo (Untitled) is a performance developed as part
of the show Gestus II Atto: Il montaggio delle azioni (Gestus Act II: The Assembly of Actions), curated by Video Sound Art
Saturday 4th december, h 12, h 16.30, h 18
In an attempt to get up
Music by Giorgio Distante
In this performance, the artist collaborates with a group of children who are not merely performers, but in fact active parts of the creative act. Through their plastic bodies,
the flight of the dragonfly – one of the few animals capable of flying in all directions – becomes a way of exploring space, of using a new gaze to completely upend power dynamics and historical memory. The utopia takes shape thanks to an imagination free of the constraints of the adult world. This new reality is presented as a game in which the children attempt to raise themselves off the ground, whilst their movements are marked by the rhythmic notes of a trumpet. Actions, sounds and lights come together to create new perspectives.
A continuous and tireless attempt to stand up. The worsening of the health emergency made it impossible for the children to participate in the physical exploration and play that would have led to the performance on the 15th of January. Starting from the title of the project, In an attempt to get up, Driant Zeneli chooses to propose a new performative act. In the presence of the public, the artist ironically redefines the concepts of failure and utopia, focusing on the characters of the video work on show, the dragonfly and the octopus that keep it imprisoned in the depths of the ocean. An act of collective reflection and participation during which actions, sounds and voices mix to cross limits and evoke unexplored possibilities. The rhythm of the performance will be set by the trumpet-robot of the musician Giorgio Distante, who created the film’s soundtrack.
Saturday 15th january, from 16.00 to 19.00
15 October 2021
15 January 2022
Footnotes – editorial insights
Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi
In collaboration with:
Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana
With the contribution of:
Acciòn Cultural Española