Art. Dance. Music.
They are inextricably intertwined and no place more so than at The Lowry in Manchester. Known for all these things it makes sense for them to put on a new exhibition celebrating these three forms. Perpetual Movement attempts to encourage relationships between artists and contemporary dance. The Rambert dance company has been long established for ninety years and is one of Britains oldest dance companies. Bringing out fresh and creative new performative dance works they seem the perfect pairing with the contemporary Lowry.
Inviting four international artists working in a range of mediums, each one responded differently to the inspiration of contemporary dance. Alongside them were a carefully curated selection of objects, footage and costumes from Rambert’s archive.
I was instantly intrigued with the sculptural paintings by Michael Zimmer. Brimming with movement they are informed by her continuing collaborations with dancers and choreographers. Using large-scale pieces of cellophane they hang like curtains along with acrylic, lacquer, spray paint and PE film on canvas they combine to create a flexible, gestural, non-static piece. Along her own words “In the brain, everything is perpetual movement.”
As I look around the exhibition there are references to the Rambert company all around including the set designs and sketches for the 1984 Wildlife performance. Painter and printmaker Richard Smith’s set opened up a new movement language for the choreographer. There are pivotal references to movement all around, digital artist Leila Johnston’s use of colour-seeking heat mapping in ‘Dance With Fire’ 2016 showcases the elegance of dance on several hypnotic LED panel installations.
Scientist-in-residence Nicky Clayton uses memories as perpetual movement. A really interesting concept and seems a fitting tribute to the Rambert’s archives of dance scores and musical notations. There are no static stores of what a memory is. We are always looking forward, not the past so the mind is full of self-made movies. With or without words, dance is a great way of conveying this movement in time and space.
At the end of the exhibition there will be an encore from artist Katie Paterson. Her work Candle (from Earth into a Black Hole) will be lit to burn down over 12 hours, slowly releasing 23 separate scents that have been detected by scientists as existing in various positions in space. Another way of emphasising an enduring dance – a finale to end all finales.
On until 26th February (and see/smell the candle burn!)