Dance your life was the slogan of Isadora Ducan: “My art is precisely an effort to express in gesture and movement the reality of my being. In front of the public, who came in crowds to my representations, I never hesitated. I gave them the most secret impulsions of my soul. From the beginning, all I did was to dance my life.” Ducan, recognized as the founder of modern dance, moved to Paris from the United States in 1900, and danced barefoot in ample tunics, inspired by the arts of Ancient Greece and refusing the rigid discipline of traditional ballet. Negating herself to be filmed, she became an inspiration to many artists, most prominently Antoine Bourdelle who would use her as a model for one of his major works, the bas-relieves of the Champs-Elysées Theatre.
It is these inter-influences, these inter-dependences, that the Paris Museum of Contemporary Art – the Centre Georges Pompidou, near your Hotel Louvre Marsollier, which we visited last year on another occasion – chose to explore in its current exhibition. How is dancing a prime material for the visual artist, and how are paintings made into dance? From 1900 to 2012, a series of unexpected relationships and collaborations are presented to the spectator in three chronological and thematic sections: dance as self-expression, dance and abstraction, dance and performance.
Over 450 works of arts, from Matisse’s gigantic fresco, The Dance of Paris, to Olafur Eliason’s games of space and light illustrate the arts’ preoccupation with volume, light, weight, gravity and movement. Many live performances and movie projections (Vidéodanse) accompany the exhibition, keeping alive the idea that dance is the body as art and art as a body.