Performance at the Museum

The performance program at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw is a series of lectures, seminars, and performance events dedicated to the performing arts and organised in collaboration with André Lepecki, Associate Professor at the Department of Performance Studies at New York University (NYU) and Artistic Professor at Stockholm University of the Arts (SKH).

It comprises the "Off-hinge / Off-center—alternative histories for 20th century performance" research and lecture program, and a performance series presenting recent works that fuse choreographic practices and the visual arts.

Continuing last year's explorations within the "Points of Convergence. Performance and Contemporaneity" theoretical program and the performance and contemporary dance presentations at the Museum, this year's edition will be taking a closer look at alternative histories and alternative ways of presenting performances in institutional settings.

With invited lecturers from Japan, Brazil, Slovenia, Portugal and Russia, the seminars and lectures will challenge dominant narratives and search for performance histories in areas that so far have been treated as peripheral, or derivative, from the NYC-Paris Vienna axis that art history has given us. The lectures and seminars will be conducted by: Raiji Kuroda, Claudia Calirman, Verónica Metello, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez and Sasha Obukhova.

Meanwhile, the artistic program focuses on the practice of performance, particularly on how disruptive temporalities enact critiques to the production economy of this genre. The invited artists deconstruct traditional understandings of choreography, overthrowing hierarchical divisions between stage and audience, musical score and improvisation, the body and subjectivity.

The working concept is that live performance disrupts ready-made scenarios both for the display and stability of the artwork and for the role of spectatorship. With its precariousness, multiple temporalities and unpredictabilities, performance addresses the inherent uncertainties of the "here and now" by enacting alternatives to the pre-given. While, knowing how to talk about performance, knowing how performance speaks, how it theorizes and critiques the conditions of its own existence, means learning how to grasp the discursive dynamics of the present, which—like contemporaneity—are never constant, but always in motion.

The cycle of performances launches the new project of Manuel Pelmuş and Alexandra Pirici, Romanian choreographers renowned by their pioneering Romanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale—an attempt to enact works of art displayed at earlier editions of the biennale. In Warsaw, and for a week, a group of performers engage in an ongoing action at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, challenging the idea of a material collection which stands as a cornerstone for the very concept of the museum.

A dialogue with the temporality and the subjectivity of the performing body is undertaken by Adam Linder's latest work, Some Proximity/ Choreographic Services, in which Linder problematises the institutional and economic dimensions of performance. Along with an art critic and another dancer, Linder will "embody" short passages on art, thus proposing performative reflections in the Museum space over two days based on a written contract.

The series also presents new productions of Marta Ziółek, Yve Laris Cohen and the iconic "Abecedarium Bestiarium" of the German artist Antonia Baehr.

2014 performance program included lectures and seminars by André Lepecki, Nicholas Ridout, Shannon Jackson, Rebecca Schneider, Bojana Kunst and Fred Moten, with performances by Paulina Ołowska, Ei Arakawa, Sergei Tcherepnin and Gela Patashuri, Grace Ndiritu, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Jesse Darling and Ramona Nagabczyńska.

Curated by André Lepecki, Associate Professor at the Department of Performance Studies at New York University (NYU) and Artistic Professor at Stockholm University of the Arts (SKH) in collaboration with Muzeum curators Marta Dziewańska and Magdalena Lipska (research program) and Natalia Sielewicz (program of artistic events).