Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Jonah Bokaer and The Guggenheim Museum

'From “FILTER” to “On Vanishing”: Jonah Bokaer and The Guggenheim Museum'

Commissioned in part by The Guggenheim Museum (from the Fall 2010 Works & Process series), Jonah Bokaer's, “FILTER”, validated his position as a significant dance-maker.  This work has everything that one could want from the current dance field: a post-modern sensibility, a choreographic aesthetic and an academic concept.

Because of Bokaer's unique approach to post-modern dance, “FILTER” was an incredibly accessible work.  Rather than focusing on an obvious pedestrian interpretation of movement, Bokaer favored simple, intentional, deliberate, and choreographically codified combinations: the arm traveling straight up the body; the palm reaching forward, the spine rolling through the vertebrae.  Bokaer transformed these motions from commonality to dance by taking the post-modern ideal of attainable physicality and placing it in a compelling narrative context.     

Conceptually, “FILTER” ruminated on the complex relationship between the independent and the interdependent.  And, through this dance, Bokaer explored how shapes, positions and movement in space embody both elements.  At times, the cast was four independent individuals working with and within their own bodies, completely unaffected by the other dancers.  Then, the four men truly became one entity, joining forces to create collaborative interdependent positions, with each other and with the stage design.  The table plank that resided center stage required the participation of all four dancers for it to be fully realized and integrated into the work.  Bokaer clearly understands that good modern choreography speaks to both issues: independent structures and interdependent form.  

Bokaer and The Guggenheim are about to embark on another artistic collaboration, this time, with a site-specific live performance on the museum's rotunda floor in New York City.  “On Vanishing” will feature Bokaer's choreography amidst a current sculptural installation, 'Lee Ufan: Marking Infinity'.  It will be interesting to see if his independent/interdependent theme continues to weave through this next project.  With the transformation of the human body through movement juxtaposed against the living breathing entity that is sculpture, the possibilities for this performance are endless. 

Showing at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City on July 14, 6pm only; 8pm SOLD OUT.
For further details about “On Vanishing”, please visit:

To see video clips of Jonah Bokaer's work, go to

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