mercredi 23 janvier 2008

Rewind 2007: Pil & Galia Kollectiv (The Showroom, London)

What do you get if you co-opt the design aesthetics of modernism and constructivism (specifically Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer’s abstract dance piece, ‘Triadic Ballet’), add in elements of Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ and apply them to a musical composition by Waw Pierogi (from 1980s synth-pop band xex) based on the growing patterns of asparagus? The answer is Pil and Galia Kollectiv’s ‘Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet’. This one-off, choreographed performance presented on opening night – in which six performers walk in robotic formation while dressed up as asparagus tips – is shown here on video, along with what appears to be rehearsal footage of the artists giving instructions to both the performers and experimental Canadian trio Les Georges Leningrad who provided the soundtrack. There’s satisfaction in the appropriately odd, retro sci-fi mood of the piece. The strange costumes (the green felt headpieces which are on display in the front of the gallery) and slightly ominous score give it the spooky feel of an early ‘Doctor Who’ episode, a sense strengthened because the performers seem not to be taking it altogether seriously. This may not be the most accessible introduction to the Israeli-born duo’s mainly video-based works – previous short films include animated jelly beans in the guise of heavy metal bikers and magazine images of modernist furniture anthropomorphised into life – but it shows that the Kollectiv is worth watching out for.
Helen Sumpter, Fri Mar 30 2007

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