CNDB Media Library: Mihaela Michailov recommends an indispensable publication for researching the work of the artist La Ribot

CNDB Media Library: Mihaela Michailov recommends an indispensable publication for researching the work of the artist La Ribot

Born in 1962 in Madrid, La Ribot is one of the most inventive and prolific performance artists, both a dancer and a choreographer. In 1975 she began studying classical dance in Madrid. In 1986, together with dancer Bianca Calvo and a group of artists and dancers, she founded Bocanada Danza. In 1993 she started working on the development of her extensive performance project Piezas Distinguidas, which she continues to this day.

The two volumes are indispensable materials for researching the work of an artist who has constantly positioned herself critically, radically, in direct confrontation with social and political issues, oppressive normative models, conventionally imposed beauty standards, idolized or demonized images of femininity, structures of hierarchical production.

The first volume is an archive of the creator-researcher, a collection of poems from performative pieces made by the artist or from the books that inspired her, a collection of observational photographs or performances, a collection of actions that she notes accurately and emphasizes with markers of different colors, a collection of thoughts, drawings, quotes. The first volume is the opening to the creative laboratory.

The second volume includes several analytical essays dedicated to the creations of the artist.

Adrian Heathfield writes about the meticulousness with which La Ribot builds her entire appearance repertoire in Panoramix, from the sequence in which the body is stretched with its back to the audience, moved only by successive spasms, to the arrangement of objects. Heathfield also discusses the difficulty of capturing the artist’s actions in an analytical vocabulary, of writing about the event of fragility she insitutes.

Jose A. Sanchez offers a unique perspective of analysis, emphasizing the tradition of a gallery of comedians – Buster Keaton, Joan Brossa – with whom La Ribot is related in the aesthetic and ethical approach of the material she works with. Sanchez talks about the “humor” of the artist, about the oscillation between gag, playful and serious.

Laurent Goumarre begins his essay with a comparison between the immobility of Isadora Duncan and that of the choreographer La Ribot. While Duncan stood motionless for hours, waiting for a gesture to be born, she turned the immobility of the lying body into a gesture of resistance, transforming horizontality into a state of suppression for the flow of movements.

Gerald Siegmund invites us to look at Piezas Distinguidas as emblems of absence in which objects and the gaze on objects have a very, very special place, sometimes in the absence of a body that can order them. In “Candida Iluminaris”, between a doll in clothes, a watch, a sign that says “Don’t touch!”, La Ribot takes off a sock, then one of the pink shoes, then the yellow sweater, until she remains nakes. and collapses next to a broken chair. Her downfall is a prelude to her absence.

André Lepecki writes about the choreographer’s ability to create a critical discourse on the limits of performative representation, alternating micro-gestures, extreme instinctual gestures with actions that test endurance. La Ribot permanently builds bodily and objective relationships on two levels: vertical and horizontal, between pictoriality and corporality.

La Ribot / Volum I, II (published by Merz & Center nationale de la danse, published in 2004) is available at the CNDB Media Library.

The CNDB Media Library, as a documentation resource, includes a collection of books and periodicals, as well as an extensive video collection. It contains not only titles from the history and theory of dance, critical thinking and performance theory, but also includes a varied collection from different areas: feminist studies, artist books, as well as numerous magazines and catalogues. The video collection includes both international productions of choreographers, dancers and contemporary dance companies, as well as dance films and video art works. We invite you to discover it, and for this purpose we have invited artists to make recommendations.

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