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Magazine

09 June 2013
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Delta – A Post Believe Manifesto

Xavier Acarín

The space is dark. From the back comes a low melody. A tenuous light reveals three people. Dressed in black, they are all wearing the same wigs and makeup. The three spin round in a choreography based on a triangular shape, on which they trace circles, around themselves and around each other. With their constant rhythm they manage to hypnotise the audience, the movements change, the three figures come together, coordinate and synchronize their movements for an instant and later separate again. The music has a marked tempo and fills the room with a tension, the lights change, the audience is mesmerized and then, all of a sudden they halt, the music ends, the lights go out and darkness is resumed.

This, in a nutshell, is what we saw in Delta – A Post Believe Manifesto, the piece by Aimar Pérez Gali in the Mercat de las Flors in Barcelona. This is a co-production between the Mercat and the BUDA centre in Belgium, created together with Clara Tena and Carme Torrent and with music by Sara Fontán. The piece is the result of an investigation into minimalism and performative practices in the late sixties and early seventies when in New York the gesture, the combination and variation of repeated modules reigned supreme, in a language that sought the essence of art-making, a boiling point in terms of creation and risk. Pérex Gili makes an accumulation of resonances with her work, with a clear sense of exploration and reaction to those practices, taking them to levels of obsession where repetition becomes geometry, created space and the construction of meaning.

I’d often like to be able to define an experience and yet find it difficult to transcribe. An emotion goes beyond any given word and only a few have the capacity to name something and create a universe. How can we talk about that universe without words? It is in this essence of the work, this perpetual search for possibilities for living where we find the intensity. A vibration, that is body, movement and tension, the translation of which becomes for the audience a mechanism for self-contemplation. “I am looking at the sea or a fire burning in the fireplace”, says somebody next to me, “I am looking at myself”. From their seats the audience makes it their own, attaching themselves to the tails of the turns, living in them, developing a moment of suspense. Unlike the Dervishes, here the experience, the trance, is for the audience; the performers continue to concentrate on the movements of the score. Here we can compare them with forms of interactive, serial, industrial, and even technological, creativity and we can see how, in essence, the intervening processes are the same, but in the communication between the bodies emotion is crucial.

The shoes scrape over the floor triggering a high-pitched squeak that, whether accidental or not, becomes part of the hypnotic train of events. Glitter sparkles on the faces of the dancers causing an uneasy feeling that, together with the black look that shrouds the piece, takes us into the sublime (taboo). Belief and disbelief in a poetic construction. In this trio, the movements could be devastating, and every turn encompasses a vital moment, a posture, an anecdote, that is both repetitive and unique at the same time.

Pérez Gali offers us a frame for emotions, with a nod and a wink to hand-made minimalism, along the lines of Sol LeWitt, the choreographies of Lucinda Childs or the music of Philip Glass. The first of the Sentences on Conceptualism, by Sol LeWitt says: “Conceptual artists are more mystics than rationalists” – a statement that, even if it conflicted with the anti-illusionism of the objects of Robert Morris, opened up a crack in which to find transcendence, both in production and reception. As Aimar Pérez Gali suggests, there is a certain generation that wants to go back to believing, if only for a minute, that a new construction is possible.

Xavier Acarín is fascinated with experience as the driving force of contemporary culture. He has worked in art centres and cultural organizations both in Barcelona and New York, focussing in particular on performance and installation.

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