Late-Opening with New Dance Commissions by Marie Andersen and Benjamin Skinner

Friday 26 February 2016

Late opening: 6-8pm

Performances: 6.30-7.30pm.

Free entry drop-in event.

For this late opening, two dancers, Marie Andersen and Benjamin Skinner, will be performing newly commissioned works created in response to The Elemental Force of Charcoal: Drawing at the Borough. Drawing and dance have a natural affinity, due in part to the play with line, gesture and movement found in both mediums. David Bomberg was influenced by experimental modern dancers early in his career and in 1919 produced an artist book, Russian Ballet, of abstract cubist studies of modern dance. This new dance commission acknowledges the relationship between drawing and dance, and is part of a strand of the Borough Road Gallery programme that invites new creative responses to A David Bomberg Legacy – The Sarah Rose Collection. Watch a short film of these performances.

Andersen created three scores of movement that she performed at points across the hour. The theme of the trilogy was artistic process, with Andersen taking inspiration from the techniques used by David Bomberg and the Borough Group. Rather than the scores responding to three individual artworks, Andersen instead explored the concept of process inspired by various evidences found across the selection of drawings, for example considering: the layered relationship between paper and charcoal, the movement of the artist as they forged vertical lines, and the scattering of indents on the paper surface, caused by the force of the artist’s weight. Andersen added a further layer to the exhibition, using her own body as a canvas on which to play out these movements. Andersen’s wider practice takes improvisation as its focus; these scores were grounded in the idea that a fundamental aspect of improvisation is that it allows a witnessing of making in process.

In a series of drawings (which are available to view here), Skinner mapped the trajectories of gallery visitors and made ‘field notes’ on the inhabited exhibition space. Skinner improvised a score of movement based on each drawing, following its completion. Over the course of the hour, this ‘archive of experience’ was built up, with Skinner exploring the capacity for it to be embodied. David Bomberg and the Borough Group believed in the power of drawing from life; taking inspiration from this aspect of the Group’s philosophy, in this work, Skinner aimed to explore the permeability of the border between the self and the world. Through a routine of mark-making and moving, Skinner’s body became a vessel for both immediate experiences within the exhibition space, and experiences found in the time and space of the artworks. Andersen also became a participant in Skinner’s work, with Skinner creating a drawing based on Andersen’s navigation of the exhibition. The two practitioners then came together to improvise a joint-score based on this drawing.

Marie Andersen is a dance artist, teacher and researcher. Andersen studied at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Practice, a joint programme offered by Siobhan Davies Dance, Independent Dance and Trinity Laban. Andersen’s practice investigates the shared principles of contemporary dance and somatic practices, with particular focus on active listening, non-hierarchy and breath. Andersen is part of the dance and music collective Mathilde, and the artist-led collective, Improvisation Exchange Leeds. Andersen is currently collaborating with Improvisation Exchange Leeds and the Leeds University School of Philosophy on a research project devoted to philosophy and dance improvisation.

Benjamin Skinner is a dancer, print designer and illustrator. Skinner holds a BA in Anthropology from Durham University, and is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Practice, a joint programme offered by Siobhan Davies Dance, Independent Dance and Trinity Laban. Skinner’s practice investigates architecture, materiality, mark-making and methods of mapping space, as well as the physicality of the artist. Skinner has previously worked as a dancer for the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, and as a performer for interdisciplinary projects, for example Yolanda Gutiérrez’s Dead Dance Zone at Kampnagel theatre in Hamburg, and Roger Hiorn’s Youth series at The Hepworth Wakefield.

Images © Lisa Drew 2016