Saturday, October 13, 2012

MCA Stage: Martin Creed's Unconventional Ballet


 November 15-16, 2012 

Martin Creed, the British multimedia artist, creates an unconventional ballet featuring his rock band and five dancers.  Work No. 1020 (Ballet) is a mix of talk, film, song, and movement built upon the five body positions of classical ballet and the notes of the musical scale. It is presented in conjunction with Martin Creed Plays Chicago, the year-long 2012 MCA artist-in-residence project in which he creates visual and performance art work in non-gallery settings in the museum throughout the year, including the massiveMOTHERS sculpture on the plaza. The performances are presented in the Edlis Neeson Theater on Thursday and Friday, November 15-16, 2012 as part of the MCA Stage's Global Stage series.

In Work No. 1020, Creed creates a framework in which audiences experience subtle changes of time, speed, and direction. The choreography is methodical and geometric, comprised of the building blocks of classical ballet -- five basic positions of the feet that are the foundation of every other step. The work is performed by five classically trained dancers from London, and is co-created with Lorena Randi, a dancer/choreographer associated with Sadler's Wells Theatre in London who commissioned the original presentation of the ballet in 2009.

Creed creates a parallel set of musical building blocks with the notes of the scale. Between sections of the dance, Creed and his band play songs with humorous and pessimistic lyrics such as, "What's the point of it?" or "Pass your bad feelings on." The music compositions correspond with the minimal choreography. Film clips show Creed getting dogs to cross a white space in different directions and a man kicking a plant, along with more mature content such as vomit and an erection. He introduces and explains the songs with his distinctive hesitant and reflective speaking pattern.


Martin Creed's works range from poetically simple objects to large-scale participatory performances, including painting, sculpture, films, dance, performance, and music that re-evaluate the status of art with a generous sense of humor. Labeled a conceptualist and provocateur, Creed is creating new works every month to appear in non-gallery spaces in and around the museum, as well as on the MCA Plaza, and out in the city. As the MCA turns the museum over to Creed for the year, his residency illustrates the MCA's vision of an "artist-activated, audience-engaged" museum.

Creed (b. 1968) is one of the UK's leading artists and winner of the 2001 Turner Prize. He recently organized the project Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes for July 27, 2012, as part of the UK government's Cultural Olympiad that accompanies the London 2012 Olympic Games.


Work No. 1020 (Ballet) is 70 minutes without intermission and takes place November 15-16, at 7:30 pm at the Edlis Neeson Theater, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Tickets are $28, $22 for MCA Members, and a limited quantity of $10 student tickets is available. The MCA Box Office is at312.397.4010 or One free museum admission is granted with an MCA Stage ticket stub, valid up to seven days after the performance. 

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