Others deal with performance in a far more indirect way. Katie Lee, whose work in the past has tended towards enigmatic, rather minimalist sculptural assemblies, has this time worked with dancer Kyle Kremerskothen on a film-based installation called It’s Not You, It’s Me for her NEW12 commission – a work that is dispersed as fragments throughout the whole gallery amid the other NEW12 artists’ work.
The work evolved while Lee and Kremerskothen (who has danced with Lucy Guerin Inc. and BalletLab) were investigating the soaring galleries at ACCA, finding themselves gravitating towards one particular corner. They felt as if some sort of energy was trapped there. Call it intuition or an abstract idea, but they imagined a vivid, if plaintive image: a trapped, broken bird.
The bird, they thought, might flutter to this corner for safety and try to fly upwards to escape. ”It came from the sight of the empty space and the shared feeling that corners could be protective, but then also a trap,” Lee says. ACCA’s architecture is soaring: but do you submit or struggle against it? Lee filmed Kremerskothen as he moved about the space and as he kept tossing a white sheet up in the air, as though it might be a bird. It was a luxury to be in the empty space for two days, with Lee filming Kremerskothen’s improvisations as he paced about and doubled up and contorted his body in a dance gesture of tense struggle.
”It is like a broken bird gesture,” Lee says. ”It is like he is expending energy – but it is kind of futile.”
From the many hours of footage, Lee has edited a sequence of intense imagery as Kremerskothen throws the sheet up and as he crumples into himself. While Lee’s work might feature Kremerskothen in dance moves, it is more about the potential for performance, she says, as opposed to an actual staging.
”What I was really interested in was asking Kyle to do what he wanted to do with no authority and authorship from me,” Lee says. ”I apply a choreographic role post-dance to that by editing the footage.” For the viewer, it means taking on some responsibility for creating the artwork – as they move through the gallery and see the dispersed flashes of dance footage, they must construct a narrative or an experience for themselves.
”It is kind of going back to the old 1960s idea of the viewer completing the work of art,” she says. ”While that is easily said, it is also easily forgotten – there is a very passive stance you can fall into as a viewer and sometimes the conventions of galleries enforce that by a cathedral-like space that diminishes your experience.”
This segment is an exert from the full article.