The ‘Körpe Means Body: Immortality in Dance and Architecture’ editorial is one of our online ISSUE segments, head to THE ETERNAL ISSUE for the complete editorial and the complete set of images
Dance and architecture – two artistic techniques that have space management as an integral part of them. All choreographers are invited to interact with this notion and create a framework for their dancers through the process of drawing themes from everything. Examples of such artists whose relationship with architecture is central in their practice are, Dimitris Papaioannou, Pina Baus, and Sasha Waltz, with whom we will deal extensively in this article.
Sasha’s mix of Body & Architecture
In Körpe’s work, Sasha Waltz creates an architectural framework of a world with the bodies of her dancers, whose core is liquid – an eternal movement of the skin. She uses the bodies at their practical level, with a naturally high aesthetic. The dancers hold plates, support objects on their heads, and generally instrument their body in its entirety. Human chairs are created, and come to be compared, juxtaposed and parallelised with different objects. A huge swing-runway simultaneously creates the space to play, while inviting them to make their bodies more impressive and beautiful than reality.
Architecture is the art we live in, and without realising it we have the greatest proximity to it. Therefore, we always feel familiar at the sight of it. This brings the great challenge in relation to dancing, the ability of the artist to make us see their art. At the same time, the comparison becomes fatal to these expressive mediums, because one is immortal and the other dies when the spectacle ends, like all performances in contrast to the visual arts. The theatricality of it in space, centres on the human condition whose decay is perhaps the axis of existence. It is about the greatest victory of a choreographer, to essentially converse with the space, not fear it; to respect it but at the same time underestimate it. The space, the setting, the house, after all, imitate the human body, the home of our spirit – the soul, one would say, of architectural and optical work, one that is human in the inanimate and defamiliarising aspect of what its creators seek.
Humans are perishable and have the power and vigour, spiritually and physically, to produce something eternal. This collaboration between space and dance brings harmony through the contrast and subsequent friction of the collision. Separated by name and identity, the dancers of Sasha Waltz treat their body as a home and their internal organs as material to be processed. In dancing with the architectural landscape, they personify the natural and geometrical elements of the space in their bodily movements, expressing their perspective on spatiality. The landscape and its ecological phenomena, become their familiars, drawn outwards with a sense of urgency.
Our Architecture meets Dance Editorial
In this editorial, the Greek summer remains marked and signified, a symbol; an almost specific expanse that forms a series of predetermined actions. With this in mind, the dancer stands in front of the camera frantically trying to become a part of the environment, as if it is sacrilege to disengage from it. Similarly, readying himself for the strength of the Mykonian sun, this charismatic man undresses. Still, he maintains a rhythmic yet effortless quality throughout the editorial, showcasing the greatness of the scenery and its insignificance interrelation to the individual being within it.
This aesthetic approach, like a sinner seeking forgiveness, is weaved into the fabric of the editorial, like Sasha’s attempts to become one with the rock. A sacrificial passage of their visual exchange, of the movement that presents this interconnectedness with bodies, constructional structures and other geographical entities. Sasha’s dance becomes a religious ceremony with the natural objects; they are temples they cannot enter without the appropriate clothing.
The contextual space of the art of dance has the intrigue of real interaction. Artists come to the site to interact and use the already existing location to create their work, this is the work of others, where space and architecture are adjacent for its duration. This collaboration shows us exactly what the relationship and correlation between dance and architecture implies.
Humans and the spaces they inhabit nurture a symbiotic link throughout their existence. The constant redefining of them and their relationship is of enormous value.
Written by Nefeli Papanastasopoulou
Visit the ISSUE for the complete editorial and images
Photographer Alexandra Papoutsi @photoshoe__
Dancer Andreas Alexandrou @antreas_alex
Creative Director Filippos Vogdanis @philip.vogdanis
Article Nefeli Papanastasopoulou @neph.elie