Seline Baumgartner: IF IT IS AS IF IT, 2012In collaboration with the dancers: Meg Harper, Robert Swinston, Vicky Shick, Sally Gross
Installation: 2 channel HD Video with sound, 12'
“If It Is As If It” was commissioned by the Aargauer Kunsthaus for the exhibition “La jeunesse est l’art”.“If It Is As If It” is in the collection of the Aargauer Kunsthaus and the Kunsthaus Zürich.Time of production: 4-5 monthsProduction costs: CHF 7'400References / Inspiration: –Description: Dance, even more than drama, indulges in the eternal cult of youth. Committed to elegance and litheness, the body is stretched, contorted and maltreated. Age, finitude and the physical decay associated with it contradict the dictate of eternal youth that has meanwhile invaded countless areas of everyday life. With her 2012 work „If it is as if it“ Baumgartner offers a contrast to this delusion, deliberately choosing an art form that is very obviously fraught with this cliché. The dancers in this video, all of them over 60 years old, used to dance for Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown. Baumgartner rehearsed with them a choreography that draws on their individual physical memories. Confronted with their inability to move with the suppleness of yore and thus to live up to their own standards with regard to what they used to be capable of. Yet this fleeting moment of a suggested continuation of earlier times combined with the simultaneous impossibility of repeating an identical activity opens up free space for the actors that they can fill out. Thus the artist puts up for discussion a traditional vocabulary of an art form that usually links criteria such as elegance, grace and dignity with flexibility and vigour. (Text by Franz Krähenbühl)