6 October 2017 – 14 January 2018
In 2017, the Centre Pompidou is celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout France. To share the celebration with a wider audience, it will be presenting a completely new programme of exhibitions, outstanding loans and various events throughout the year.
“Performance!” shakes up exhibition practices. The project stages a singular story, playing on the fleeting instant and the possibility of repeating it through images or re-enactment. It will draw on all the artistic domains that converge in performance pieces: dance and choreography, music and sound art practices, the language of movement constructed by all the possibilities of the body, and the open devices of participatory or immersive installations, placing the viewer’s experience at the heart of the work.
Performance: the word resonates beyond the artistic field. Stemming from the performing arts (in the Anglo-Saxon tradition), and sports culture, the term now permeates post-industrial societies, in which “indicators” evaluate every sector of human activity. It is also an implicit practice of social media, in which relationships are formed and invented by and through representations of the self. The historian Stephen Greenblatt has called attention to a very sophisticated culture of self-fashioning since the Renaissance, in other words the conscious construction of an image of the social self. Today this involves a wide scope of behaviour that is elaborated daily in the prism of technology.
The art of the twentieth century has taken hold of the idea of performance to reformulate its terms and turn it into a critical practice: responding to the acceleration of time while proposing alternative strategies overturning and subverting the principle of productivity. The intensification of these forms of art in the twenty-first century even more pressingly raises the question of experience. It renews this critical vitalism, reinvents the here and now, reviving the question raised by Spinoza: “what can a body do?”.
In the expansive spaces of the Tripostal and the Gare Saint Sauveur, the exhibition will bring together masterpieces, rare works and new creations, prompting new dialogues and multiple lines of convergence. Large video installations will frame the whole, within which live performances will take place.
Image: Stan Douglas, Hors-Champs, 1992, installation view Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, 2007, © the artist