Simone Forti

Time Smear

January 27 – March 24, 2018

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 27, 5-8 PM 


Time Smear is Simone Forti’s forth solo exhibition at The Box. She’ll be showing a series of seven holograms from 1975-78, a number of which were exhibited at Sonnabend Gallery in 1978 and have not been seen since. These holograms are at once manifestation of Forti’s movement studies (‘Big Jump,’ ‘Striding Crawling,’ for instance), while owning a distinct sculptural presence separate from the performative action. The glow of the rainbow spectrum, Forti’s intriguing, isolated movement and the distortion of the dancer’s body in the hologram all coalesce into a mesmerizing vision from a moment in time.

For a period of two decades, beginning at the end of the 1960s, Forti developed her vocabulary from observations of animals’ movements and explorations of these in her own body. Meanwhile, holographer Lloyd G. Cross had developed the integral hologram by combining white light transmission holography with conventional cinematography to produce moving three-dimensional images. Peter Van Riper, then husband of Simone Forti and friend and artist-collaborator with Cross, recognized the potential of bringing these two together and arranged for their collaboration.

The process entailed filming Forti on a revolving stage and then making a composite of holograms from each frame. This gave rise to an unforeseen occurrence: the technical process created a “time smear,” resulting in a new configuration of movement, with limbs and sometimes an entire body transformed, momentarily, into abstraction, before returning to human form. In order for the motion to be seen the viewer must move around the piece, thus dancing with the small figure in the hologram.

Simone Forti (b. 1935) is a dancer/choreographer/artist/writer based in Los Angeles. Born in Florence, Italy, Forti emigrated with her family to Los Angeles in 1938. In 1955 she began dancing with Anna Halprin, who was doing pioneering work in dance improvisation. After studying and performing with Halprin in the San Francisco Bay area for four years, Forti moved to New York where she studied composition at the Merce Cunningham Studio with educator/musicologist Robert Dunn. In these classes, which focused on the work of John Cage, she met and began working informally with choreographers including Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Steve Paxton. This was a time of rich dialogue between visual artists, dancers, poets and musicians. In the spring of 1961, Forti presented a full evening of pieces she called Dance Constructions at Yoko Ono’s loft studio. These pieces proved to be influential in both the fields of dance and visual arts. Over the years Forti returned to improvisation, including extensive collaborations with musicians like Charlemagne Palestine and Peter Van Riper. Since the early 1980s she has been practicing a form wherein movement and words spontaneously weave together. Taking the news as her subject matter, Forti calls these performances News Animations.

Forti has appeared in venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Louvre Museum, Paris; and Danspace, New York. She has had solo exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany as well as her first major retrospective at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria in 2014. Forti’s artwork is in collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Generali Foundation, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Forti has received various awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in dance in 2005 and a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts in 2011. 




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