Coinciding with the 56th Venice Biennale, contemporary artist Lena Liv and dancer/choreographer Lindy Nsingo presented Dancing Makes Me Joyful from May 7 - August 15, 2015, at Palazzo Flangini, on the Canal Grande in Venice. The exhibition is the manifestation of a year-long collaborative effort between the two artists comprised of four multimedia installations and one pastel work by Liv.
Two monitors were situated in the exhibition space; one depicting Liv’s process as she independently constructs her work, the other is a documentation of Nsingo’s live performance which initiated this artistic investigation. Neons are installed around the city reverberating the name of the show, Dancing Makes Me Joyful.
In the spring of 2014, Liv arranged a meeting at Villa di Corliano in Tuscany with Nsingo to explore the concepts of dance that investigate the reciprocal interaction of body in motion, the world, and human beings. Nsingo responded to the space with a choreographed dance. The results are several new works by Liv, which demonstrate the return of beauty as a fulcrum of art after the crisis of postmodernism . “[Her new works explore the concept of dance as a form of] thought through various materials and languages. For her, the dancer, hovering in space, goes beyond the commonplace gesture to touch the universality of our being,” writes Angela Madesani.
In Liv’s new multi-media works we find trials of existence where movement underscores the relativity of everything...Liv has brought on a meeting of cultures between this young dancer/choreographer - originally from Zambia, who then moved to Belgium and later, to London - and now to the place where she dances: the huge frescoed hall of Villa di Corliano.
This is a dialogue that leads to a hybridization of various elements to give life to something different. Liv’s works bring us into an a-temporal dimension in which there is an eternal return, in the sense of Walter Benjamin: the repetitive co-action that determines the universality of phenomena and feelings quite apart from individual events. This is the ontological fil rouge of all her work: the spirituality that we find in folle, in the sense of a philosophical concept, a limit, threshold, existential mystery, in childhood innocence; the primordial moment in the history of man in nature, in places of solitude but also in that surreal and poetic dimension that is profoundly intrinsic to her underground spaces, which we find now in the rooms of the ancient building where Nsingo initially performed.
The great dancer Pina Bausch said that when one is completely lost, dance begins. Dance as an existential necessity, just as creating is for Liv and Nsingo: a daily need, a cure to enable one to face up to the complex heterogeneity of existence.
Liv, formally trained in painting, has incorporated glass into her multimedia works as a way to mediate light. This has become one of her most important tools. Looking at her illuminated pieces, works like Golden Chains from Star to Star...and I dance, appear to be a single image from the front. Viewing the work from an angle demonstrates that it is in fact three separate panels of glass donning different transparent images illuminated by a conjoined structure filled with light. The images are conflated into one as light passes through thinner moments of color, and is blocked by thicker, darker areas. In this way, light functions as the life source of the image; the image is revealed through and made by light. In this particular construction, Liv captures Nsigno’s body in three postures simultaneously, freezing movement, suspended in time.
Embedded within the exhibition, Nsingo performed a world-premiere of the site-specific choreographed piece Dancing Makes Me Joyful on May 7th and May 8th. Nsingo’s solo installation is a work that explores “phenomenal moment when body, mind, spirit are concentrated into a single moment.” (J. Ashford 2012) Performing the work on a revolving stage, the dance becomes a pivoting exploration of the essence of why human beings dance. Expressed through the physical embodiment of Nsingo’s unique dance language, Dancing Makes Me Joyful delves into the matter that lies beyond all experiences, and therefore, all reason – both theoretical and physical. This was documented and the film is present in the exhibition.
Photo used courtesy of Lena Liv and any reproduction is strictly forbidden.
No words, no thoughts; but in my soul will grow aboundless love.
2019 ⓒ Lindy Nsingo
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