Opening Reception: June 27th 2009, 6-8pm

To Borrow Salt / Ensemble Performance June 19 & 20, 2009, at 8pmWork in a Range of Mediums / Solo Exhibition: June 27 – July 25, 2009
Opening Reception: June 27, 6pm – 8pm (solo performance @ 7pm)
Closing Celebration with BBQ and Huddle: July 25, 4pm – 7pm

To Borrow Salt cycles events into various juxtapositions with each other, creating a kaleidoscopic narrative focused on language.  

Stories, in life, do not exist.  Like a landscape in a picture, set the lens, start the story, from this tree, this baby, lover, lost job, Mussolini.

-S. Forti, 2009

Things to see, read, hear and think about, weave simultaneously through three separate, adjoining spaces.  The audience is invited to move freely from space to space, each actively creating their unique, coherent view of the piece.  

Forti has been making theatrical performances of spoken word, sound, movement and designed environment with this small ensemble of artists since 2005.  The members come from varied performance media. Terrence Luke Johnson is a performer of improvisational theater and a writer; Sarah Swenson, is a dancer and a choreographer; Douglas Wadle is a composer and a trombonist.  The group’s dramaturge, Kristen Smiarowski is a dancer and a choreographer.  This ensemble has performed at REDCAT Disney Theater 2005, Highways Performance Space 2006 and Unknown Theater 2008.    

Work in a Range of Mediums is a solo exhibition that includes animal drawings and a hologram, Angel-1976, both done in relation to Forti’s animal movement studies which have informed much of her dancing.  Three videos range from documentations of solo performances of News Animations, to an intimate study-duet with an ancient oak at Calabasas Creek Park, to a 2004 restaging at the MOCA/Geffen of her early Dance Constructions,

The Dance Constructions first performed in the loft studio of Yoko Ono in 1961, create circumstances for the performers’ direct, non-stylistic actions.  Huddle is comprised of a tightly massed group of seven or eight people who take turns climbing over the top.  Radically new at the time, these pieces were important in the larger art context as well as in dance.

The News Animations are improvised performances of movement and language; embodied studies of the flickering fluid vision of the world brought by the news media, with its visual, kinetic and emotional components.

Other works include a large drawing titled I stand where a bear stood recently clawing this tree - 2009, and an apparatus for playing Face Tunes - 1967, a music piece created from profiles of faces, together with a recording of the sound.  Forti’s notebooks will be on display and there will be a comfortable reading table for browsing through her published books including Handbook in Motion; Angel; Oh, Tongue; Unbuttoned Sleeves and Simone Forti – Jeremiah Day.

Simone Forti was born in Florence Italy in 1935 and emigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1939.  In 1955 she began dancing with Anna Halprin who was doing pioneering work in improvisation.  After four years of workshop study and performance apprenticeship with Halprin in the San Francisco Bay area, Simone moved to New York City with her then husband, Robert Morris.  There she studied composition at the Merce Cunningham Studio with musicologist/dance educator Robert Dunn.  In these classes she met and began to work informally with choreographers like Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Steve Paxton. In the spring of 1961 she presented a full evening of what she called dance-constructions, at Yoko Ono’s loft studio. It was a seminal event in contemporary dance, and her work in these years was a critical component in forging the initial directions fellow choreographers were to take as they began to perform their work as the Judson Dance Theater.  

In the late sixties Forti worked in the theater pieces of happenings artist Robert Whitman.  Returning to improvisation in the 1970s, her movement vocabulary was anchored first in the dynamics of circling, which she performed in collaboration with musician Charlemagne Palestine, and later in observations of animals’ movements, which she performed in collaboration with musician Peter Van Riper.  In the early 1980s Forti started speaking while moving, working with newspapers and doing solo performances called News Animations.  These gave expression to images, memories and speculations sparked by the news media.  

Throughout the years, writing has been part of Forti’s process.  Her book Handbook in Motion: an ongoing personal discourse and its manifestations in dance, was published in 1974 by The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  Her book, Oh, Tongue, published in 2003 by Beyond Baroque Books, is a varied collection of writings with a postscript by the poet Jackson Mac Low.  In 2006 Beyond Baroque Press published Unbuttoned Sleeves.  Edited by Forti, it is a weave of texts by her and other members of her performance ensemble.  Last May Oh, Tongue was republished in French translation by Editions Al Dante of Limoge, France together with Haute Ecole d'Art et Design - Geneva.

Oct 1 2009pdf
Critics' Pick: Simone Forti
By Natilee Harren
1 October 2009