Thinking with the Body: A Retrospective in Motion
“I am interested in what we know about things through our bodies,” says Simone Forti, who was born in Florence in 1935 but has mostly lived in Los Angeles since 1938, with extended stays in New York and other places. The exhibition presents the first comprehensive retrospective of the seminal work of this influential artist, choreographer, dancer, and writer. In addition to numerous performances, many of them presented in live enactments, Forti’s sculptures, drawings, works with holograms and sound, and videos demonstrate her strikingly broad creative range. She is regarded as a key figure in postmodern dance and pioneer of Minimal art—she personally likes to describe herself as a “movement artist.”
In a sustained engagement with kinesthetic awareness and composition, gleaned from her mentors dancers Anna Halprin and John Cage scholar Robert Dunn, Simone Forti dedicated herself to experimentation and improvisation. Collaboration with other artists, including musicians such as Charlemagne Palestine and Peter Van Riper, has been another mainstay of her artistic practice. In the early 1960s, together with dancers including Steve Paxton and Yvonne Rainer, she revolutionized the idea of dance and performance art by introducing movements from everyday life. In Huddle, one of her most popular works, a group of performers form a sculpture that focuses and expresses their aggregate forces. Among Simone Forti’s best-known works are minimalist objects made of simple materials, the famous Dance Constructions (1960-61), which she first presented in New York. In the late 1960s—Forti, who lived near the zoo in Rome at the time—began to develop performance pieces out of the movements of animals. In her most recent works, the News Animations, she includes spoken words in her dance, to reflect current events.
The Dance Constructions and other performance pieces by Simone Forti will be enacted in the galleries and in public spaces by students at the SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance). During the first week of the exhibition, the artist will be training the performers of her pieces, in sessions which the public is welcome to observe.
For detailed information on these events, please see our performance calendar:
The exhibition is organized by the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.
Curator: Sabine Breitwieser, Director, with Katja Mittendorfer-Oppolzer, Curatorial Assistant, Museum der moderne Salzburg
Exhibition Architecture: Kuehn Malvezzi
In conjunction with the exhibition, the catalogue Simone Forti. Thinking with the Body, in German and English hardcover editions, will be published by Hirmer Verlag, Munich. It includes an interview with Simone Forti by Sabine Breitwieser, essays by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Fred Dewey, and Meredith Morse, a conversation between Liz Kotz and Tashi Wada, and texts by the artists Robert Morris, Steve Paxton, and Yvonne Rainer. 320 pp., many color and black-and-white illustrations. The museum edition will be for sale at € 29.