Freedom of expression offers a rich soil for artistic treatment. Even more so during a pandemic, where even the simple act of dancing becomes subject to restrictions. An exhibition at the MuseumsQuartier presents creative responses to a time of No Dancing Allowed.
- An eclectic mix of multimedia installations
- Dance treated as a metaphor for various forms of expression
- Artists tackle “restriction” in a wider sense: physical, political, etc.
- Runs Jun 22 – Nov 20, 2022
- Free to view
- See also:
Move that body (or not)
(Press photo: Choreographic Camouflage. Liam Young, 2021)
Give it a moment of reflection and the simple idea of rhythmic body movements (or less than rhythmic in my case) takes on huge meaning.
Dancing fulfills a plethora of roles in society. A shared experience that brings people together. A means of personal expression. A means of collective expression (and protest). A continuation of cultural bonds and historical ritual. Entertainment. Exercise. The list goes on.
The desire to dance seems to be a fundamental human instinct and need. Not to mention a useful tool for groups and movements to express their collective unity.
What happens, then, when dancing becomes constrained by circumstances, as in the pandemic?
The COVID era has placed restrictions on venues, gatherings, and shared physical proximity. And thus on some manifestations of dance.
And in an inadvertent stroke of fate and irony, COVID has brought a swathe of mental burdens that dance might otherwise help alleviate. A double blow?
The No Dancing Allowed exhibition presents the work of various artists, who use video and multimedia installation to address a range of topics related to recent and current circumstances: from protesting police brutality to the beauty and precision of human movement.
The exhibition’s broad theme seems to be the response to constraints that remove a reprieve and outlet for the kind of emotions that restrictions and a wider sociocultural and sociopolitical situation accentuate: boredom, loneliness, grief, anger and similar. In curator Bogomir Doringer’s terms: the Dance of Urgency.
As such, No Dancing Allowed explores the interaction between movement, body and space (in a time of COVID) rather than dance in its narrow sense. Dance serves more as a metaphor for expression. Restriction as a metaphor for exclusion, repression, and bigotry, too.
So the remit is wide.
I’m a child of the 80s in the UK, so Jeremy Deller’s video explanation of the rave movement in the context of, for example, Thatcherism felt unexpectedly relevant. You sense a thread from treatment of striking miners to today’s restrictions (COVID and otherwise) on forms of protest.
Luiz Felipe’s El Tiro held a strange fascination: a man running without moving. A metaphor for so many themes and catalyst for so many questions, if not for the entirety of the life experience. Ah, too much coffee again, this morning.
Walking through the exhibition, it often felt like a collective scream, though underpinned by resilience: totally appropriate to how many of us (still) feel. The concepts gain added poignancy with the situation in Ukraine: particularly Anton Shebetko’s portraits of nightclub guests in pre-war Kyiv.
Tickets and dates
Dance your way through the exhibition halls between June 22nd and November 20th, 2022. Entry is free. Note the exhibition space only opens from 1pm to 7pm Tuesday to Sunday.
How to get there
No Dancing Allowed takes place in the frei_raum Q21 exhibition tract (now the MQ Freiraum + Salon) of the MuseumsQuartier. If you’re outside the MQ facing the main entrance, then walk left along the building to find it.
Follow the tips here to find the MQ in the first place.
Address: Q21 exhibition space, Museumsplatz 1/5, 1070 Vienna