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Grass Field

Grass Field was presented on October 13th and 22nd 1966. This performance by Alex Hay is both a scenographic arrangement and a scientific experiment. Covered with electrodes that amplify the most intimate sounds of his body, seated in front of a large screen on which his face appears, the artist stretches the perceptible boundaries of the individual.

A Grass Field, this is undoubtedly what the 24 numbered fabric squares are meant to represent, placed by Alex Hay on the stage for the opening. A territory that will then be unravelled by two agents equipped with poles, Robert Rauschenberg and Steve Paxton, while the performer sits motionless in the middle of the stage. Without doubt by virtue of a play on words on the actor’s last name “Hay”, this grass field refers to the artist’s intimate territory, first delimited, then unravelled, as the frequencies of his body fill the room and the details of his hallucinated face pervade the spectators’ vision. To expose himself in this way, to be confronted with the sounds filtering through his skin while remaining motionless for such a long time was a real ordeal for the visual artist and dancer. Technology, used in playful manner in the other performances, is here the instrument of a disturbing experiment. A form of science fiction where the artist is the guinea pig. 


Source : Sylvain Maestraggi

Hay, Alex

In his 1960’s paintings and sculptures, Alex Hay depicted the formal properties of everyday objects. His works where a cross between minimalism, hyperrealism, and Pop Art. During that same period he worked as an assistant to Robert Rauschenberg and created stage designs for the choreographic works of Merce Cunningham. After 1963, Hay performed with the Judson Church Theater. In 1969, he left New York and moved to the small mining town of Bisbee, (Arizona, U.S.), where he distanced himself from the world of art. Although he participated in the Whitney Biennial in 2004, his work after 1969 has rarely been seen.


Source : Website Fondation Langlois, Vincent Bonin © 2006 FDL


More information : www.fondation-langlois.org 

Paxton, Steve

In the early 1960’s, Steve Paxton was a dancer with the Jose Limon company. From 1961 to 1965, he performed in several works by Merce Cunningham. In 1962, Paxton became one of the founding members of the Judson Dance Theatre. Like his collaborators, he attempted to break down the traditional barriers between dancers and non-dancers. Following this period of joint creation with the members of the Judson Dance Theatre, he developed the technique of contact improvisation. With this method, dancers are continuously interacting with each other to create a series of movements. It has influenced many choreographers and is widely used as a teaching tool.
 

Since the late 1970’s, Paxton has largely left the performance world, devoting himself primarily to training workshops and writing. He nevertheless still delivers some improvised solo performances and collaborates with choreographers, composers, and artists, including Robert Ashley, Trisha Brown, Boris Charmatz, Kathy Duck, Lisa Nelson, and Vera Mantero.


Source : Website Fondation Langlois, Vincent Bonin © 2006 FDL


More information :

www.fondation-langlois.org 

Rauschenberg, Robert

Grass Field

Choreography : Alex Hay

Interpretation : Alex Hay, Robert Rauschenberg, Steve Paxton

Lights : Jennifer Tipton, Beverly Emmons (assistant)

Settings : Herb Schneider, Pete Cumminski, Robert Kieronski, Fred Waldhauer, Martin Wazowicz, Cecil Coker

Sound : David Tudor

9 Evenings : Theatre & Engineering

We owe 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, a series of performances presented in the large building of the Arsenal of the 69th Regiment of New York, in October 1966, to the complicity between the visual artist Robert Rauschenberg and Billy Klüver, an engineer with the telephone company Bell. The concept was simple: allow a dozen artists to achieve the performance of their dreams thanks to the technology of the Bell laboratories.

Born from the experimentations of the members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the Judson Dance Theatre, the 9 Evenings mark a decisive step in the changing relationship between art and technology. Evening after evening, projectors, video cameras, transistors, amplifiers, electrodes and oscilloscopes entered the stage at the service of ambitious, futuristic, iconoclastic or poetic visions – all filmed in black and white and in colour. When these films were rediscovered in 1995, Billy Klüver decided, in partnership with Julie Martin and the director Barbro Schultz Lundestam, to produce a series of documentaries reconstructing what had taken place on the stage and during the preparation of the performances. The original material was thus completed by interviews with the protagonists of each performance (artists and engineers) and a few famous guests. The 9 Evenings would thereby be restored to their place in the history of art. 


Source : Sylvain Maestreggi

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