Dance with Camera is an exhibition that considers artists and dancers who make choreography for the camera. The exhibition features art works in film, video, and still photography that exemplify the ways dance has compelled visual artists to record bodies moving in time and space. Featuring 26 artists and filmmakers, Dance with Camera has been organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, and is curated by Jenelle Porter, ICA Curator.
The art works in Dance with Camera showcase the lens as not merely a recording device, but stage and audience simultaneously. The camera creates a unique space for dance. In some instances, choreography is created for the specific space of the camera; in others it is created in editing. The camera, unlike the stage, allows close-ups that bring us near the performer. Editing is used to compress time and create structure, and even to transform relatively static performers into dancers. Still photography freezes time while also expanding the notion of dance as time-based. Dance itself is a mode to explore broader themes of narrative, structure, metaphor, and abstraction. As part of the exhibition, numerous live performances have been scheduled, including one by Deborah Hay which is copresented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
Dance with Camera begins in the 1960s with seminal works by Bruce Conner and Bruce Nauman. Conner’s prototypical BREAKAWAY (1966) prefigured music videos, and threads through the recent work of robbinschilds. Early video artists of the 1970s took up dance as a subject, seen in work such as Eleanor Antin’s narrative ballet-themed works, and Charles Atlas’ first works with Merce Cunningham. The camera’s role as documentarian characterizes contemporary works by Mike Kelley, Kelly Nipper, Tacita Dean, and Elad Lassry, among others. Works by Oliver Herring and Flora Wiegmann use dynamic camera views and kinetic editing to make vibrant videos of dancers, and nondancers. The drama intrinsic to stylized, physical movement is captured by Luis Jacob, Joachim Koester, and Uri Tzaig.
Eleanor Antin, Charles Atlas and Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Ann Carlson and Mary Ellen Strom, Shirley Clarke, Bruce Conner, Tacita Dean, Ed Emschweiler, Hilary Harris, Oliver Herring, Luis Jacob, Mike Kelley, Joachim Koester, Elad Lassry, Bruce Nauman, Kelly Nipper, Yvonne Rainer, robbinschilds + A.L. Steiner, Uri Tzaig, Flora Wiegmann, and Christopher Williams.