Siobhan Davies Commissions, Bargehouse, London
Thursday 10 November 2011
The new works produced by Siobhan Davies Commissions are weirdly bloodless. Davies, an established choreographer, has commissioned dance colleagues to create new works, in collaboration with artists from other disciplines. All four works stress the process of making art. It's self-conscious rather than illuminating.
The new works – installations, drawings and films – are on show at the Bargehouse gallery. Admission is free, so audiences can drop in and out of performances. Dancers wait in the corners of gallery rooms, moving in to dance.
A Dance of Ownership, A Song in Hand was created by dance artist Gill Clarke with the Turner Prize-nominated visual artist Lucy Skaer. They started by creating a double exposure. First, they filmed the uninhabited island of St Kilda, a wild landscape of sea and cliffs. Then, rewinding and reusing the film, they shot images of Mount Stuart, the extravagant Victorian home of the fifth Marquis of Bute, the island's previous owner. A third image is overlaid: a hand grasping and gesturing.
St Kilda and Mount Stuart are both extraordinary places. Slapped onto the same film, they wash each other out. Whether it's blue sky or gilded ceiling, the colours blur into muddy sepia, losing character and identity. In the room, two dancers in beige suits solemnly wind and rewind the film.
LandMark is a performance installation, created in collaboration with artist Bruce Sharp. Dancers Deborah Saxon and Henry Montes move around a room hung with flicker books on strings. Sometimes they engage with each other, but both remain detached.
In one sequence, Montes slaps his hands down onto his thighs. Then he does the same to Saxon, sitting opposite him. She removes his hands. Yet there's little personality here, no sense of personal space invaded or individual reaction.
A Question of Movement, a video by Montes and Marcus Coates, is the strongest work here. The artists ask members of the public to think of a question that is relevant to their own lives. Coates then tries to express it in dance. The people asking the questions are friendly and engaged, sitting in sunny kitchens or untidy bedrooms.
What Isn't Here Hasn't Happened is a series of drawings by Sarah Warsop and Tracey Rowledge. It records a dance we don't see, choreography set down with mark-making in graphite. The grey smudges add up to a colourless view of dance, unfortunately characteristic of this project.
To 13 November (www.siobhandavies.com/commissions)
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Game of Thrones, season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Martin Scorsese 'in shock' after death on set of new film Silence
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures