If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse?

If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse?

Tate Modern

Boris Charmatz, Levée des conflits, 2015. Photo: Hugo Glendenning.

May 7, 2015

If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse?
Part of BMW Tate Live

Friday 15–Saturday 16 May 2015, 12–22h

Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG


Starting with a question—if Tate Modern was Musée de la danse?—this project proposes a fictional transformation of the art museum via the prism of dance. A major new collaboration between Tate Modern and the Musée de la danse in Rennes, France, directed by dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz, this temporary occupation lasting just 48 hours, extends beyond simply inviting the discipline of dance into the museum. Instead, it considers how the museum might be transformed by dance altogether as one institution overlaps with another. By entering the public spaces and galleries of Tate Modern, Musée de la danse dramatizes questions about how art might be perceived, displayed and shared from a danced and choreographed perspective. Charmatz likens the scenario to trying on a new pair of glasses with lenses that open people’s perception to forms of found choreography happening everywhere.

An unfolding programme of performances
Presentations of Charmatz’s work are interwoven with dance performances that directly involve viewers. Musée de la danse’s regular workshop format, Adrénaline—a dance floor that is open to everyone—is staged as a temporary nightclub. The Turbine Hall oscillates between dance lesson and performance, set-up and take-down, participation and party. In this vision of the museum, visitors might share in the heritage differently as they carry away with them what they have learned.

Upstairs in Tate’s permanent collection, Musée de la danse displays its own collection of gestures with 20 Dancers for the XX Century and expo zéro, an exhibition performed by key international artists and thinkers who have been invited to present their own vision of what a Musée de la danse might be.

Throughout these two days all aspects of the museum—from exhibition, to collection, to learning, to institutional orientation—are explored anew. By shifting the focus from the conventions of what are for the most part static displays of art within the museum towards a performance-driven view, the project initiates a new time-based perspective within Tate Modern. Although the fictional transformation is temporary, it proposes permanent changes in the museum’s imagination. Given the actual transformation Tate Modern is undergoing in advance of the new building set to open in 2016, the act of looking at the museum itself, and how art shapes the museum from within, is of immediate relevance.

Watch live, anywhere
Running parallel to this on-site transformation, a major part of the project takes place online, through the live-streaming of performances on Saturday 16 May, crowd-sourced contributions, text and image documentation and artist statements.

Join the debate
Despite taking place over a two-day period, a significant aim of this project involves asking the long-term question of how a “danced” or “choreographic” perspective can affect our understanding of the museum. Tate Modern and Musée de la danse invited five artists and thinkers, Yvonne Rainer, Tania Bruguera, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Pablo Bronstein and Tim Etchells, to freely imagine and write a short statement about what a dancing museum could be—read the responses. 

How would you imagine the dancing museum? Join the conversation via #dancingmuseum

Running order
See the schedule of performances for the two days.

About the artist
Originally trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School, Boris Charmatz has been challenging preconceived notions of dance for over 20 years. In 2009, Charmatz became director of the Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne in France, which he renamed Musée de la danse (a dancing museum). His concept of a museum as the framing device for dance, the most ephemeral of cultural forms, redefines the very notions of museum and collection.

Musée de la danse in London
Tate Modern and Sadler’s Wells present: Musée de la danse in London, a major new focus on the work of French choreographer and dancer Boris Charmatz. Following Charmatz’s piece enfant in 2014, Sadler’s Wells presents the London premiere of his works Aatt enen tionon (1996) and manger (2014), as well as the UK premiere of Partita 2 (2014), a work by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, performed by De Keersmaeker, Boris Charmatz and the violinist Amandine Beyer.

If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse? is a proposition initiated between Catherine Wood, Senior Curator, International Art (Performance), Tate Modern and Boris Charmatz, Director, Musée de la danse, Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne and is a collaboration between Boris Charmatz, Catherine Wood, Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, and Martina Hochmuth, Director of Productions, Musée de la danse, and Musée de la danse team.

BMW Tate Live is a major partnership between Tate and BMW which focuses on performance and interdisciplinary art in the gallery and online and is curated by Catherine Wood, and Capucine Perrot.

Part of: Musée de la danse in London presented by Tate and Sadler’s Wells.

With the generous support of Catherine Petitgas and Institut français.

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May 7, 2015

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