The exhibition “Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be” (5.6. -26.9.2021) is the occasion of a cooperation between the Kunstmuseum Basel and the ballet ensemble of the Theater Basel. The making-of provides insight into the exploration of the themes Kara Walker negotiates in her work and the process of creating the performance. The focus of the approximately one-hour work entitled Telling Bodies is the language of bodies as well as music and sounds. Richard Wherlock (*1958, British dancer and choreographer, director of Ballett Basel since 2001) and four other members of the ensemble – Stefanie Pechtl, Frank Fannar Pedersen, Jorge García Pérez and Javier Rodriguez Cobos – present newly created choreographies inspired by Kara Walker’s graphic work and their own in-depth research.

Telling bodies is a commissioned work and is presented exclusively as a production at Kunstmuseum Basel. It explores the body as a site of inscription of social realities – both those represented by Kara Walker’s work and those that shape our immediate social present. Different aspects, motifs and thematic contexts from Kara Walker’s works formed the starting point for the choreographic work.

The five choreographies of Telling Bodies are interwoven and thus form a continuous piece. They address issues of racism, gender, sexuality, and violence with great respect, or raise questions about history, memory, and transformation. As director Richard Wherlock says, “Just as Kara Walker relentlessly shakes up images of history in her work and interrogates racism and violence in her imagery, we in dance cannot escape questions of identity, race, and gender – it is always the body that is at the center. Therefore, as dance practitioners, we feel very addressed and touched by the work of this particular artist. In Telling Bodies, we seek the same intensity, just with different means.”

A cooperation of Theater Basel and Kunstmuseum Basel in the context of the exhibition “Kara Walker. A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be”.

More information: Kunstmuseum Basel

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