Truly Spun Never
7 March - 14 April 2018
Opening night: Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 6-8.30 pm
Hales Gallery is proud to present Andrea Geyer, Truly Spun Never. The exhibition in the gallery’s New York Project Room spotlights the video installation first shown by Geyer in 2016 and directly follows Geyer’s first exhibition with Hales Gallery, London.
Geyer’s critically-oriented work ranges across media, incorporating text, photography, painting, sculpture, video, and performance. It explores the complex politics of time in the context of specific social and political situations, cultural institutions, and historical events. From her early investigations into urban environments, cultural landscapes, and notions of citizenship to more recent research into women’s contributions to modernism, Geyer’s work continuously seeks to create spaces of critical, collective reflection on the construction of histories and ideas that are otherwise marginalized or obscured. Uniting all of Geyer’s ambitious work is the belief that “art should be a site to offer the possibility of re-orientation(s) towards a current moment.”
Truly Spun Never (2016) stems from Geyer’s investigation into the political history of “Ausdruckstanz” (expressive dance) emerging in Germany between 1910 and 1940. With its celebration of natural movements, emotions, and sensuality, “German dance,” in stark contrast to other modern art forms such as poetry, theater, painting, or sculpture, was not considered degenerate. The physical liberation of dancers like Rudolph Laban and Mary Wigmann served as a smokescreen for the repressive cultural politics of the Third Reich at large. Funded from 1933 onward by Goebbel’s ministry of propaganda, dancers who chose to remain in Germany removed all “non-Aryan” dancers from their schools and companies, and yet insisted that dance existed as a “pure” art form outside the realm of politics. Geyer’s work has always contested such a notion that art exists outside of life and/or politics.
Originally commissioned by the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Truly Spun Never is a three-channel video installation that stages an interaction between a scholar and six dancers. Over the course of its 17-minute duration, the dancers rehearse spins, while the critic attempts to speak to them: “Should there ever be refuge in movement? Should there be shelter in practice? One body moves many, like an instrument played, a community forming, a movement moving, moved.” Geyer’s script, based on her signature approach of layering found texts, archival, and original material, brings together the writings of key figures in the development of expressive dance including Rudolf von Laban, Fritz Böhm, Joseph Levitan, and Mary Wigman, as well as poems by Paul Celan, whose words bear witness to the excruciating reality of the time these dancers were active.
In its multi-layered interactions across movement, speech, poetry, and identity, Truly Spun Never slips from the past into the present moment. It addresses the state’s intervention into the privacy of a body (through dance), while materializing it as a social and political site that is implicated and activated by national ideologies. “What is rhythm to time? What is rhythm to ideology?” asks the scholar. The dancers answer by leading the viewers into the complex labyrinth of history and memory, culture and ideology. They do so not by using words, but instead by insisting on the irrefutable and powerful presence and transgressive knowledge of their moving bodies.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Andrea Geyer (b. 1971, Freiburg, Germany) studied photography and film design at the Fachhochschule Bielefeld and fine art at the Braunschweig University of Art, both in Germany. She is a 2000 graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Geyer lives and works in New York.
Geyer’s work has been exhibited widely at institutions including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California; The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Artists Space and White Columns, in New York City; Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Houston, Texas; A Space Gallery, Toronto, Canada; KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Red Cat and LACE, in Los Angeles; Tate Modern and Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, Switzerland; Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden; Generali Foundation and Secession, Vienna; Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand; the Turin Biennale; the São Paulo Biennial; and dOCUMENTA (12), Kassel, Germany. International public collections with Geyer’s work include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California, Neue Galerie, MHK, Kassel, the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg and the Federal Collection of Germany.
Performers: Jess Barbagallo, Natalie Cloarec, devynn emor, Lily Gold, Patricia Hoffbauer, Marbles Jumbo Radio, Omagbitse Omagbemi
Script: Andrea Geyer
Script Supervision: Catherine Bernath
Director of Photography: Martina Radwan
Assistant to DP: Laura Nespola
2nd Assistant: Ryo Sato
Steady Cam: Jamie Northrup
Sound: John Stadwell
Media Manager: Stephanie Park
Editing: Andrea Geyer
SoundMaster: Rachel Wardell
Production Manager: Lauren Denitzio
Assistant Production & Sound Assistance: Francesca Fiore
Still Photography: Oscar Gracida
Costume: Jocelyn Davis
Styling: Naomi Raddatz
Performance Support: Umber Majeed
Location: BeElectric Studios, Brooklyn
This work was commissioned by the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in collaboration with the Derra de Moroda Dance Archive. It was produced with the generous support of Parque Galeria, Mexico, The New School Research Grant and The Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Fund.
Special Thanks: Jane Anderson, Sharon Hayes, Josiah McEhleny, Taisha Paggett, Fred Moten, the team of the Derra de Moroda Dance Archive and the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg and the team of Parque Galeria.
Dawn Ades, Art and Power: Europe under the Dictators 1930-45. The XXIII Council of Europe Exhibition
Fritz Böhme, “Ist das Ballett deutsch?” in Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Berlin, 25.April, 1933
Paul Celan, Selected Poems and Pose (Norton: New York, 2001)
Rudolf Delius, on Wigman’s Witch Dance, Die Propyläen, 1914
Joseph Goebbels' letter to Rudolf Kölling, 1936
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia: Brooklyn, 2013)
Andrew Hewitt, Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement (Post-Contemporary Interventions) . Duke University Press.
Marion Kant and Lilian Karina, Hitler’s Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich (Berghan: New York, 2003)
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Jonathan Karp, ed, The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (University of Pennsylvenia Press: Philadelphia 2007)
Joseph von Laban's letter to Walter von Keudell, Reichminister,1936
The Laban Sourcebook (Routledge: New York, 2011)
Josef Lewitan, from Der Tanz: Internationale Zeitschrift fur tanzerische Kultur. Berlin (1927-1944)
Fred Moten, andrea geyer / margaret Kerry
Peggy Phelan Unmarked: The Politics of Performance
Der Tanz: Internationale Zeitschrift fur tanzerische Kultur. Berlin (1927-1944)
Mary Wigman, The Mary Wigman Book (Olympic Marketing Corp: Minnetonka, 1975)
Mary Wigman, Witch Dance, 1914
Mary Wigman, Das Land ohne Tanz, Die Tanzgemeinschaft. Vol. I, Nr. 3 (1929)