What would it mean for choreography to perform as an exhibition? That is the question at the origin of Work/Travail/Arbeid, a newly commissioned project by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. In response, the legendary Belgian dancer-choreographer takes her stage piece Vortex Temporum, choreographed to the eponymous music of composer Gérard Grisey, and reimagines it for the radically different temporal, spatial, and perceptual conditions of an art space. Rather than simply bringing a dance performance into a different space, De Keersmaeker reimagines and recasts the choreography as a nine-week-long exhibition. The result is a project that transforms the very material and conditions that have long been essential to dance, in particular the rigorous structure and choreographic language for which De Keersmaeker is known, into an entirely new exhibition form. It also reveals, in a way that perhaps no other dance piece by the choreographer could, the complex conceptual, technical, and physical labor-in sum, the work-that is the backbone of her entire oeuvre.
This multi-volume boxed catalogue is conceived in parts so that it may accompany the exhibition while it is on and fully document it over its duration. A first set of volumes introduces Work/Travail/Arbeid and traces the preparations for it as well as its connection to Vortex Temporum. Following the exhibition, a second set of volumes documents and reflects on its unfolding. The catalogue includes a re-edition of De Keersmaeker’s original Vortex Temporum program book, photographic documentation by Babette Mangolte and Anne Van Aerschot, drawings by De Keersmaeker, and newly commissioned essays by Douglas Crimp, Bojana Cvejic´, Brian Dillon, Elena Filipovic, and Catherine Wood.