The artist, dancer and choreographer La Ribot (María José Ribot) (Madrid, 1966) was honoured in 2000 with the Premio Nacional de Danza (National Dance Prize), in recognition of a career that included dance, performing arts and visual arts. Her best known work is the Series Distinguidas (1993-2003), a collection of short pieces created as a reflection on the body and from the body.
These actions -which began by being performed in theatres and later made the jump to galleries and museums- are now the subject of the exhibition Panoramix at the Palacio de Velázquez del Parque del Retiro. The exhibition is a journey through all of her Piezas Distinguidas performed over three hours. This same program is also presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva and Tate Modern in London. Although these pieces fall into three very distinctive series -13 Piezas distinguidas, Más distinguidas y Still distinguished created in 1993-94, 1997 and 2000 respectively- the presentation does not follow a chronological order but an order of meaning.
The space dedicated to La Ribot’s performance has been occupied by a variety of objects with which the artist interacts in each of her actions. A chair on which to jump on-top of or with which to make noise, a metre to measure various body parts, a sheet with which to represent the tail of a mermaid, adhesive tape with which to stick wood slats on to her body and transform herself into a hand-made cyborg, a wet suit, wigs, clothing, bottles and other everyday items whose meaning is subverted in the hands of the artist who often appears nude on stage.
The public is placed in the centre of the action in such a way that their presence is part of the actual scenery that accompanies her pieces. The music, ranging from pop tunes to traditional Italian songs to jazz, is an essential component to Series Distinguidas. The various movements, sometimes specific to the dance, sometimes to the performance, become part of the whole action giving indications about the ultimate meaning of the pieces developed.
Another fundamental ingredient of La Ribot’s work in Series Distinguidas is a certain taste for humorous winks. Actions are devoid of the gravity that sometimes possesses the performance and results in a playful idea of movement as a form of expression. In some of the pieces the artist introduces the text, oral or written, increasing complicity with the spectator who is forced to abandon their role of voyeur.
These Series Distinguidas have been sold to: collectors, museums, galleries and businesses. A total of thirty-four actions of variable duration (between thirty seconds and seven minutes) collected in this exhibition display La Ribot’s last decade of work, which is presented as a reference to the opening of performance and the performing arts to new possibilities.