Mind Movement-Trisha Brown & Wangechi Mutu

Dance Review

By Lanie Reene

July 22, 2013-Durham, NC

Her presence projects an image onto the back of my eyes. My mind wanders, tracing the trail of a forgotten memory…

Film strip…bodies move willingly. One gesture flows into the next creating a seamless thought of movement. An arm billows, causing my mind to wander. Wannnnderring. I’m in a dance composition class. One phrase evolves into another, into another. Relationships in relation to space alter, change, adjust, reform. What would happen if we put this in space-HERE. Wings make movement transparent.

Anticipation of humanity. The female form. Curves. The black space hugs her form as if she is contained within a box. Anticipation. Cleverly she denies us traces of humanity. Her backspace vibrates with a language of its own. Our conduit.

Trisha Brown Dance Company: If you couldn't see me.
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes
The temperature descends quickly. Multiple fans roar to their own rhythm occasionally falling in and out of rhythm with one another. Gentle unison. Machines, bodies. Blades rotating around metal, bodies rotating around blades. Heaps of clothing…leaving traces.

Fabric competes with bare skin. Wind pushes the fabric against bone while limbs sneak to escape. Guiding placement, frozen in translation. The inspector inspects…allowing space to spill around joints, breath catches an arm in suspension.

Friday and Saturday Trisha Brown Dance Company presented an evening of works at Durham Performing Arts Center. While the works did not invoke a strong emotional or visceral response, it did magically transport me into a mental space compelled by the inquisitive eye. The movement was curious. Each sequence seemed to pose new questions and considerations, without conclusion, without contradiction. I found myself wondering where the movement would go next. How would the dancers get there? One gesture would cause my mind to float in and out of active engagement. I would remember the presence of movement in my body. I didn't feel lost when I returned...the fluctuation of my witnessing seemed to mimic the cells of the bodies during movement.

Trisha Brown Dance Company: I’m going to toss my arms—if you catch them they’re yours
Photo Credit: Stephanie Berger
The works were surrounded by a unique presence of choice. We could choose to be both with it and outside of it throughout its duration. Imagined possibilities. 

With the absence of narrative, intricate phrasing and timing layered bodies and movement for meaning. Although the manner and decision to remove clothing during I’m going to toss my arms-if you catch them they’re yours felt a bit distracting within the overall aesthetic, it put me in a contemplative place of context.

What does it mean that Trisha Brown, a woman, was able to create these particular works during the postmodern movement? What does her work mean within the current scope of our dance/political climate? How do bodies translate her movement ideas? Who performs her movement? Who is her work for? Who does her work ignore?

Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization (2010)
Visiting Trisha Brown’s show on the heels of the Wangechi Mutu’s A Fantastic Journey at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke Universityexhibition made me very sensitive to the presence of layering and mixed media. Although these works were different in terms of scope and artistic vehicle, they both encouraged the spectator to consider the necessity of mixed mediums. Both artists integrate a variety of mediums into their works to articulate a complexity of content that extends beyond the capacity of one medium. The decision to use a variety of mediums demonstrates a meticulous consideration to the overall statement and how each medium exudes a unique weight onto the overall statement.

Wangechi Mutu-Photo Source: http://www.kenyanvibe.com/kenyan-artist-wangechi-mutus-solo-exhibition-showing-in-montreal/

Light, projection, structure, white, bodies, white, fabric, sound, transparent, reset, site, intricate complexity of movement
Magazine, video, paint, structure, texture, woman, machine, plant, animal, cultural hybrid, juxtaposition of being, liquid, ink, installation, Afro-futuristic 

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