July 2, 2017 - REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) - Chalk Circles
July 2, 2017

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)

Silke Otto-Knapp, sketch for Schattentheater (Chalk circles), 2017. Watercolor on paper.

Chalk Circles
June 17–August 20, 2017

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Chalk Circles stages a number of ways in which artists think critically about the traditions of theater and performance. The title of the exhibition refers to the well-known play by Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, written in Los Angeles in 1944. Brecht’s play is a parable about ownership, affection and justice in which two characters must prove who is a better mother by pulling their baby out of a chalk circle. The chalk circle determines the place of the body within impermanent but accurate limits. The classic geometric shape speaks also of the fragility of such limits: to act/to be, inner truth/public mask, actor/character. A chalk circle can also question overlaps and coincidences of the gallery, the theatrical and the civic space. 

Artists in this exhibition document, reimagine, and rearticulate acting methodologies to investigate performance as a form of production, not just as an event-based form. Their projects center on mixed traditions of movement, acting and gesture, as well as pedagogic models. The role of the actor, the figure of the performer, and their different perspectives in the construction of a character inform several projects in the exhibition, while others focus on the frictions of a body in a fictive—theatralized—space.

Chalk Circles features works and commissions by local and international artists who engage in theatricality and performativity as a tool to feed the instability of such terms. Artists included in the exhibition: Carola Dertnig, Dora García and Peio Aguirre, Adrià Julià, Joachim Koester, David Levine, Emily Mast, Silke Otto-Knapp, Santiago Roldós and Pilar Aranda (Muégano Teatro), Catherine Sullivan and Kerry Tribe. 

Curators: Ruth Estévez and José Luis Blondet.


Chalk Circles public program:

Dora García and Peio Aguirre: "Performance"
June 17, 4pm; each Wednesday from 5–6pm

The script written by Peio Aguirre is based on conversations that he and Dora García have been having on performance, acting, actors, representation, characters and fiction since 2009. 

Emily Mast: Hold Your Tension, a performance in three parts
Saturday, June 17, 6pm / Sunday, July 16, 5pm / Sunday, August 13, 5pm

LA based artist Emily Mast presents a new performance in collaboration with Mikaal Sulaiman, a former actor trained in Lecoq technique. Mast uses the duration of the exhibition to develop a performance with Mikaal in which he recounts and performs his own personal history with performance. 

Carola Dertnig: Double Me Double You
Thursday, June 22, 7pm

Vienna based artist Carola Detnig presents a new commissioned performance Double Me Double You  in which she analyzes techniques of copying, appropriation, and reenactment in her own work. 

Santiago Roldós and Pilar Aranda (Muégano Teatro)
Lecture / performance: Toys close to violence / Destruction of all things
Saturday, June 24, 6pm

This theatrical/performative lecture is an opportunity to learn about the idiosyncratic methodologies followed by Muégano Teatro, based on their anthropophagic interest in the Brechtian didactic theater.


This exhibition has been made possible by a grant from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Funded in part with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Acción Cultural Española AC/E.


New releases: 

Hotel Theory Reader
Hotel Theory Reader explores the possibilities of theory as an art form. This anthology contains texts by David Antin, Art & Language, Ruth Estévez, Bruce Hainley, Wayne Koestenbaum, Chris Kraus, Snejanka Mihaylova, Sohrab Mohebbi, Cally Spooner, V-Girls, Danna Vajda, and Tirdad Zolghadr.  

Co-published by Fillip and REDCAT. Edited by Sohrab Mohebbi and Ruth Estévez.

Lounge Act. Wayne Koestenbaum
Lounge Act is a live performance recorded at REDCAT gallery as part of the exhibition Hotel Theory. Poet, critic, and artist Wayne Koestenbaum performs piano miniatures, while incanting spontaneous Sprechstimme-style soliloquies. 

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Michael Webster, and produced by Sohrab Mohebbi in collaboration with UDPR. Lounge Act is available in a limited edition of 300 vinyl copies. 

Hotel Theory was made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award.

REDCAT is CalArt's Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts.

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
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