Simone Forti: To Play the Flute at Museo del Novecento, Milan

Simone Forti, Huddle, 1961. Performed at Le Mouvement—Performing the City, Biel/Bienne, 2014. Performance, 10 minutes. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2017 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Meyer & Kangangi. Photo courtesy the artist.

 

Curated by Bruna Roccasalva and Vincenzo de Bellis

Museo del Novecentoand Fondazione Furla present Simone Forti: To Play the Flute, a selection of performances by the Italian-born American artist, choreographer and dancer that will fill the Museo del Novecento’s Sala Fontana with sound and movement for three days. Simone Forti: To Play the Flute is the first event in Furla Series #01—Time after Time, Space after Space, a performance-centered program that will showcase five artists by different generations and backgrounds, showing a range of approaches to this form of expression.

For over 50 years, Simone Forti (born in Florence in 1935, lives and works in Los Angeles) has been a leading figure in postmodern dance. From the simple, minimalist movements of her early pieces, to improvisations joining words to movement, her work has profoundly influenced contemporary dance and performance practices. To Play the Flute is a reenactment of four historic performances that mark fundamental points in Forti’s career: Huddle and Censor (both from 1961), Cloths (1967) and Sleepwalkers (1968). This selection highlights her approach to the interplay of actions and objects, and the key role assigned to sound.

It was with her famous Dance Constructions—presented for the first time in 1961 in a series of events organized at Yoko Ono’s New York studio and now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York—that Simone Forti built a reputation in the 1960s art world for innovative experimentation with the language of movement. Based on everyday movements or interactions with objects, these are pieces in which personal expression and improvisation are always hampered by the effort required to carry out a given physical task or follow certain rules. In one of the best-known works from this series, Huddle, a group of people performs the title gesture to form a sculpture made of bodies taking turns at climbing over and rejoining the mass. First presented in 1961 as part of the same event, Censor is instead a clash between sounds: a pan full of nails is energetically rattled as a song is sung. In Cloths (1967) the human body disappears, giving the stage completely over to movement—in this case, the movement of cloth being thrown—and music. Three black canvases attached to frames occupy the space, concealing performers who progressively toss pieces of fabric over the frames to form colored layers, while singing over pre-recorded tracks of other songs. Lastly, Sleepwalkers (1968), here performed by dancer Claire Filmon, stems from the artist’s time in Italy in the 1960s, as the culmination of days spent watching and sketching the fauna in the zoo in Rome. The result is a meditative work based on the complicated balance between restriction and freedom.

The program Time after Time, Space after Space will include four more events: Alexandra Bachzetsis (November 29-30, 2017), Adelita Husni-Bey (January 17-18, 2018), Paulina Olowska (March 7-8, 2018), and Christian Marclay (April 13-14, 2018). Time after Time, Space after Space is the first edition of the Furla Series. Through this project, Fondazione Furla will organize exhibitions and events on an annual basis, in collaboration with Italy’s foremost art institutions.

Museo del Novecento  – Sala Fontana, Via Marconi 1, Milan, Italy
In the framework of Furla Series #01—Time after Time, Space after Space
September 21–23, 2017