How to translate sensations and inner monologues into movement? Is it possible to track the hesitation before speaking, the movements not chosen, the spaces we travel to when we are daydreaming, the memories and projections that cloud our awareness of the present?
As part of the performing arts series staged in collaboration with the Community of Madrid’s Teatros del Canal, the Museo Reina Sofía presents An Evening of Solo Works by choreographer Meg Stuart. Upon the conclusion of the performance, the artist will participate in a conversation, presented and moderated by Isabel de Naverán.
The evening will see Stuart re-engage with various solos created between 1995 and 2018, in which she reflects on her state as a woman, choreographer, worker, and lover. Her practice questions duties, roles, status and power relations through physical, poetic and emotional work driving movement, with her oeuvre traversed by dialogue maintained with the diverse community of collaborators that customarily surround her — musicians, visual artists, film-makers – and by the images, desires and questions that have accompanied her across her career and which gain an overtly poetic texture in her solos.
Curator and researcher Susan Gibb wrote of her work that it is movement more than dance that best describes her medium; movement she calls upon, guided by her resolute desire to plumb the mysterious depths of experience and human relations.
Since she first performed Disfigure Study in 1991 at the Klapstuk Festival in Leuven, Stuart has become a reference point in a particular European dance scene and part of a constellation of choreographers made up of, among others, João Fiadeiro, Vera Mantero and Alain Platel, and, in Spain, Mónica Valenciano, who also came to prominence at the same edition of Klapstuk, curated by Bruno Verbergt. Her artistic language ever since has seemed to adopt the body as a necessarily vulnerable physical entity which, distorted and displaced by movement, can have a voice and meaning. This line of investigation around the potential of the body with regard to materiality, with its ability to affect and enunciate and, above all, generate new forms of relations, became a constant running through her subsequent works.
By means of improvisation, Stuart explores such questions, positioning herself in ground fertilised by the uncertainty, doubt and suspicion that things, relationships and thoughts could be different: they could arise and reveal themselves in and via movement that is transformed and continually redefines us, affecting the variety of physical, mental and emotional states that decide our way of inhabiting the world.
Meg Stuart, born in New Orleans in 1965, is an American choreographer and dancer who lives and works in Berlin and Brussels. She studied dance at NYU, moving to New York in 1983 and continuing her training at the Movement Research centre. In 1991 she presented her first full-length piece Disfigure Study at the Klapstuk Festival in Leuven, and in 1994 founded her company Damaged Goods, thereby fulfilling her desire to have her own structure from which to develop art projects. With Damaged Goods she has created over thirty productions, from solos to large-scale choreographies such as Visitors Only (2003), Built to Last (2012) and UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP (2015).
Moreover, she has worked with artists like Philipp Gehmacher, Ann Hamilton, Claudia Hill, Benoit Lachambre, Brendan Dougherty and Hahn Rowe, and has been involved in audiovisual projects, installations and in situ creations such as Projecting [Space], unveiled at the Ruhrtriennale Festival in Germany in 2017, where she and Damaged Goods worked from 2015 to 2017, at the request of theatre director Johan Simons. Her improvisations have also seen her promote and actively participate in projects like Crash Landing (1996–1999) and Auf den Tisch! (2004–2011). In 2016, she presented City Lights - a continuous gathering at the HAU Hebbel am Ufer theatre in Berlin, in collaboration with a group of local female artists.
She has also participated in art residences at the Schauspielhaus Zürich (Zurich, 2000–2004) and Volksbühne Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (Berlin, 2005–2010) theatres and has collaborated with theatre directors Stefan Pucher, Christoph Marthaler and Frank Castorf, among others.
With Damaged Goods, Meg Stuart has worked since 2010 as an associate artist at the Kammerspiele theatre in Munich, and, in addition, her company regularly collaborates with other performance centres such as Kaaitheater in Brussels and HAU Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin.
Her work has been performed at a wide array of international theatres, and at exhibitions that include documenta X in Kassel, in 1997, and Manifesta 7 in Bolzano, in 2008, a year in which she also received the Bessie Prize for her body of work and the Flemish Culture Award in Belgium in the category of performing arts. In 2012 she received the Konrad-Wolf Award from the Akademie der Künste (Berlin).
In 2018, she was awarded the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.
- Curatorship: Isabel de Naverán
- Organized by: Museo Reina Sofía
In collaboration with:
Teatros del Canal, Community of Madrid
Choreography and performance: Meg Stuart
Live music: Brendan Dougherty
Light design: Emanuelle Petit
Sound design: Vincent Malstaf
Technical director: Jitske Vandenbussche
Technical assistant: Kobe Le Duc
Tour: Delphine Vincent
Distribution in Spain: Mondigromax, Cultivos de cultura
Production: Damaged Goods (Bruselas)
Support: Gobierno Flamenco y Comisión de la Comunidad Flamenca