PATRICE PALACIO

Dance

A new work on the theme of dance with a series of drawings on paper in graphite, India ink and rope.

The aerial gesture of Patrice Palacio and the apparent simplicity of the dance movement come together in a refined design where the line goes to the essential. The complexity of the dance movement resolved in a minimal and dazzling gesture: "Less is more".

Knowing the work of the artist - his genius of the line, his straightforward gesture, his work in evocation and the place he gives to emptiness, his specific technique in the rope -, I knew that by asking him to working on the theme of dance for the gallery, the meeting would be incredible.

By graphite, ink, and rope, figurative, abstract and concrete overlap, which brings us back to the concept of abstract dance. By going through the three techniques, the artist plunges us into the very heart of concrete paradoxes in dance.

A new work on the theme of dance with a series of drawings on paper in graphite, India ink and rope.

The aerial gesture of Patrice Palacio and the apparent simplicity of the dance movement come together in a refined design where the line goes to the essential. The complexity of the dance movement resolved in a minimal and dazzling gesture: "Less is more".

Knowing the work of the artist - his genius of the line, his straightforward gesture, his work in evocation and the place he gives to emptiness, his specific technique in the rope -, I knew that by asking him to working on the theme of dance for the gallery, the meeting would be incredible.

By graphite, ink, and rope, figurative, abstract and concrete overlap, which brings us back to the concept of abstract dance. By going through the three techniques, the artist plunges us into the very heart of concrete paradoxes in dance.

A series of drawings on dance

 

Certainly, but with Patrice Palacio, the subject is a pretext for developing more fundamental questions on the classification of "genres". The artist implemented a simple working protocol for this project: three techniques allowing him a permanent "figurative, abstract, concrete" shift. Reducing the dance gesture to its essentials in its drawing gesture, the result is an empty space broken up with a minimal nervous line, suggesting the volume of the body which naturally takes shape in the eye of the one who looks at the drawing. A power of evocation inherent in both the Art of dance and that of writing is at stake here.

In its last phase of the protocol, after the lead and the ink, the rope brings the line back into a material contingency. A concrete object, the string dipped in glue imposes on the artist physical constraints of gravity, flexibility, resistance, as is the case for the body of the dancer himself. Confronted with what physical nature allows him, the artist - painter or dancer - must deal with it, so that he can escape, express himself, his intention, his feeling. Thus, it goes further than dance sketches: it is about the posture itself, about the practice of an art expressed by another art; observe it, understand it, blend in with it. These are the stakes of the designer facing this moving subject that must be suspended while leaving him the ability to continue his movement ad infinitum.

Concrete paradoxes in dance

The concept of abstract dance seems to qualify a large part of contemporary choreographic creation. Absurd! “A decoy!” Exclaimed Béjart, “I can't stand talking about abstract dance. A triangle is abstract, an algebraic formula, but two shoulders or two thighs, it takes, it bites. The dance is fundamentally movement in a very concrete body just like the canvas and the painting of the picture or the marble of the statue, but also alive, in flesh and blood, feeling and expressing pleasure, emotions, love, life, death: the eminently carnal and sensual therefore, material, obvious and tangible.

As for the other arts, abstraction would designate the absence of imitative representation of reality, of an action, of a concrete “history”: abstract dance is therefore opposed to figurative, illustrative, or even narrative dance, even mimed. It tells nothing, no libretto, no argument, or sometimes even a project (as Cunningham claims), although a starting theme, or an idea, can be suggested at least by the title. Thus the genre asserts itself with the great Balanchine whose recent homage by Pietragalla in Marseille recalls the genius. His collaboration with Stravinsky (he called his music “mathematical”) produced these “jewels” of purity and sobriety, true geometric architectures of lines and curves, resulting only from the music whose pieces often bear the name.

The dramatic and expressive intensity is not for all that absent, it emanates not from a narrative content but from a full experience of movement, a sort of “lyrical abstraction” according to the same Béjart, emotion of the heart, way of access to knowledge and truth.

Would we say, then, of a non-anecdotal ballet that it is abstract? Of course not. Moreover, isn't classical dance, paradoxically, already abstract insofar as each step idealizes the natural gesture by an increasingly elaborate stylization, removing all traces of effort in a transcended movement that transports the spectator beyond material appearance? A dream of immortality grazed for a moment in the imponderable, the leap out of space and time, the symbolic gratuity of art.

Abstraction therefore materializes where we least expect it: through the play of the body itself. It comes from pure, free, self-sufficient movements: the material of the dance is the dance itself. If excessive stylization becomes frozen hyper-codification (the artificial and mechanical academic gesture), by returning to a form of authenticity and spontaneity in its quest for the essence of movement, contemporary dance has rediscovered the sources of its art: new paradox of an abstract gesture which gives an impression of naturalness, fluidity. So we could see it with De Keersmaeker or Trisha Brown this season at the Théâtre des Salins (Martigues).

But is the body itself concrete? As the child has the power to kill the enemy with his outstretched finger or to make the world disappear by closing his eyes, the dancing body is immediately spatial. It does not evolve in space, it constructs its space, makes it emerge beyond its own limits: “kinesphere” structured by the directions and the forms - invisible traces - that the movement prints, the space is the very extension of the body. The line of the outstretched arm crosses the walls, the hanging hand vibrates the entire space, the gaze plunges and stretches to infinity.

By Nelly Rajaonarivelo

Published in Détours, July 2003, p. 64-65

© Nuance-contemporary art gallery 2020. All rights reserved.

© black n white art 2020. All rights reserved.