Wayne McGregor: the relationship between mind and body explored in the discipline of dance

From French philosopher Descartes mind and body’s dualism to mirror neuronal connections, latest findings support the idea of a complex interaction among the spiritual and physical part of the self

Thursday 29 September 2013 – Sunday 27 October 2013 

WellCome Collection – Euston London

http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/thinking-with-the-body.aspx

What happens in the mind of a dancer when he/she ‘marks’ the space with his body? What is the shape of the biology behind the artistic movement of the choreography? The free exhibition, currently displayed at the Euston WellCome Collection in London, tries to reply to those questions by setting up a connection between two different fields such as the science and the artistic creation.

Artistic and scientific domains are strictly linked together and the history of science, art and nature are plenty of examples of this fecund intersection. From Leonardo Da Vinci Vitruvian Man to Galileo Galilei interpretation of the Nature in terms of maths or Fibonacci sequences there is a lot of  maths in nature and beauty in science as well. Taking these intersections among those fields as possibilities of developing new findings is the starting point of the entire exhibition.

The exhibition has been thought to develop interactivity with the visitor and make him/her experience the same experiments of connection between body and mind of those dancers, subjects of the scientific study. The visitor will have the possibility to experiment a journey into the labyrints of minds, with interactivity rooms. Furthermore there are also sound boxes, in which you can relax, concentrate on the sounds and then report on a booknote the sensation you have developed during this experience.

Over the past two decades, the British choreographer McGregor has been developing different projects looking for new tools to support the creative process in the rehearsal studio and explore the possibility of using cognitive and social science to develop a wider and more comprehensive understanding of choreographic practice and thinking.

The last room of the exhibition explores the synesthetic experience, in other words the result of the intersections among five senses. Try, for instance, the Sound Room, in which you will be asked to ‘See This Sound’, an experiment firstly developed by the German Art School of Bauhaus in the late 20’s.

Definitely not to be missed.

Giuliana Patrone

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Souzou: Outsider Art From Japan

Souzu: Outsider Art From Japan

28 March – 30 June

Wellcome Collection – London

A new challenge for art curators and spectators:  the spring Wellcome Collection exhibition shows art works from people with disabilities. A unique collection created by 46 Japanese artists living in social welfare facilities.

Souzu is a Japanese word which means creation and imagination at the same time. Both meanings allude to a ‘force’  by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world

The exhibition brings together different art works such as drawings, ceramics and textiles to demonstrate that disability could be a huge incentive  for creativity.The aim is to explore the process of making through different six sections which are: Language, Making, Representation, Relationships, Culture, Possibilities. 

The Language section explores the artists’ ability to convey their thoughts and feelings by visual art, as verbal and written communication is challenging or impossible for them. Works range from Takanori Herai’s diary with black and white hieroglyphics to Toshiko Yamanishi’s multi coloured love letters for his mother, in which she expresses her love with bright polychromes.

Making part of the exhibition is characterized by massive use of unconventional materials. From Komei Bekki ceramic art works to the army of little soldiers created by Shota Katsube and styled out of the twist-ties used to fasten food.

The subjects in Representation section are taken from artists’ daily life. M. K. drawings on cardboards are irreverent mockeries of advertising billboards with, for example, naked models while Satoshi Nishikawa creates huge fruits aggregating small ceramic rabbits.

Relationships is the section dedicated to the people loved by the artists. Here the spectator can admire Sakiko Kono’s cotton dolls, representing staff and friends who have been kind to her in the residential facility and Masao Obata’s red drawings on cardboard, representing beautiful and naked women.

In Culture  artists take inspiration for pop culture. In fact in this section bright movies’ posters and paper cartoon figurines are displayed. Ryosuke Otsuji ceramic Okinawan Lions are appreciable because in popular Japanese culture they are thought to ward off  bad spirits.

Last part of the exhibition is dedicated to Possibilities area, a place in which the visitor will find Norimitsu Kokubo’s fictional cityscapes, Shingo Ikeda’s calculation of his journeys on Tokyo subway and Shinichi Sawada’s ceramic sea-monsters and mythical demons.

In the last room of the exhibition several screens in which the spectator can admire brief interviews with some of the artists of the exhibition.

Don’t miss the chance to explore different abilities and endless resources of these unconventional artists.

Take a glance at the video to see most relevant art works displayed…

(Images courtesy of Wellcome Collection Press Office).
 

Review: Death: A Self-Portrait

A bold art collection about death, assembled by the American collector Richard Harris

Wellcome Collection

15 November 2012 – 24 February 2013

http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/death-a-self-portrait.aspx

A visual collection, which ranges from ephemera to photographs, sculptures and paintings, covering almost 300 years, is currently displayed at the Londoner Wellcome Collection. From the Japanese Floating world of Ukiyo-e to the Buddhist Okimono and humanised skeleton of Mexico’s Day of The Dead, the spectator is drawn to an unusual and spectacular journey into the macabre and sublime side of the death. None want to talk about death, but anyway everybody has to face it. Death: a Self-Portrait’s deals with the concept of death to discover how different cultures exorcise the end of life.

The exhibition offers a complete and exhaustive collection of rare pieces of art. Divided in different themed rooms, different topics are displayed like the medieval Dance of Death and the fecund bond between art and eroticism. The advertising picture of the art exhibition represents a white skull with a couple of lovers kissing, strong and controversial example of Freudian’s concept of Eros and Thanatos.

well-la-vie-et-la-mort

The collection opens with an oriental Okimono Curios snake exploring a skull, representing a skull encircled by a snake. This decorative object embodies the Buddhist vision of the on-going existence of the spirit, which is built on the idea of the reincarnation of the soul in new states of being.

skullsnake

Ahead in the exhibition, we find Japanese Ukiyo-e (Floating World) Frolicking Skeletons. This artwork represents a range of skeletons indulging in different sensual pleasures. One is playing an instrument; another one is simply relaxing, showing the deep dichotomy between the inexorability of death and life’s evanescence and beauty.

Frolicking Skeletons by Kawanabe Kyosai

It is not a coincidence that in the last room of the exhibition is displayed Are you still mad at me? (2001). John Isaacs’ sculpture represents a wounded and lacerated human body. A torn body which obliges us to face the most painful and darkest side of death.

madatme

The art collector, Richard Harris, explains that he was attracted by the versatility of this theme. As he states, death is removed from our collective conscious but anthropological studies demonstrate that every culture has to face it. His aim was to collect ‘A body of work that would chronologically and culturally capture the essence of Death through its iconography, from masterpieces of fine art to the incidental.’

Death: A Self-Portrait is a unique and bizarre collection of art, which epitomizes the human urge of sublimate death in creative artworks. From the Putto blowing bubbles, symbols of the transience of life, to the white bones made Chandelier, over decades artists demonstrate that towards death the strongest reaction is the powerful creation of the art. In truth, the focal point of the whole collection is the endless human attempt to ‘overcome’ death with creativity.

(Photographs courtesy of Wellcome Collection Press Office).