Structures of Support/Malleable Bodies
wood, posters, textiles, four leaning exercises
Leaning is both a question of support and one of trust. Is there really any time we don’t lean? If you stand straight, you still have to trust your body to hold you, yield into the ground. All movement is trust. Will the next movement carry me? When are we not in contact with anything else? I am interested in the boundaries between leaning all weight into something/someone for support, and leaning on your own resources – standing on your own. How and when do I support myself; how/when do I trust “you”? Leaning, or yielding, as Dr. Frank calls it, is about giving and receiving support – orienting through weight. It “serves as the background for all later emerging anti-gravity patterns that move the infant up and away from the earth and through space. Inherent to all yielding are fundamental issues of finding and experiencing support.” (Body of awareness, p.79).Through the project I question and suggest different structures of support.
Through four different leaning exercises – people can experience support, give support and find positions of rest. The work is installed as a wooden structure holding textiles, an instruction-poster (Leaning exercise no. 1), a schedule-poster and three different activations of textiles. The wooden structure is built by two boards leaning on each other, holding folded textiles. On the wooden structure the textiles rest. The work is being found in, as Franz Erhard Walther describes it, a storage form (dormant state), with the possibility of being brought to life by human bodies and thus entering action form (MOUSSE Magazine). I am intrigued by the concept of activation, the possibilities of the body in action, and the potential of the dormant state of the work/material.
I define the work as exercises, rather than living sculptures or performances. The leaning is something to be brought into action, to be repeated, to be practiced and developed, rather than a form to represent or something to be presented and accomplished. I explore different temperatures and layers of leaning, and the exercises exist in the dichotomy of the public and the private. The invitation of different people, bodies and surroundings adds new aspects to the work, elements that I cannot control. My research is active during the whole exhibition period. I am researching through different leaning exercises, ways of interacting with a chosen material (textile) and different collaborations. It is a completely different experience watching people lean instead of doing it yourself. I test both in the belief that they will open up for different reflections, associations and experiences.
Leaning Exercise no. 1 is an instruction-poster on the wall with text. This exercise is for the personal, private and self-directed experience, and can be done by anyone, anywhere. The instruction and questions work as a backdrop for the whole project:
Lean your body weight towards something strong (a wall, a tree etc.).
Feel your entire being leaning.
What are you leaning towards?
What are you leaning away from?
What is your support?
Photo: Bjarte Bjørkum
In Leaning Exercise no. 2 (viewer activation, 09.04.22, 12.00-14.00) I move through the exhibition space carrying a textile, and invite visitors into it do a leaning exercise with me. They can chose if they want to sit or stand, and I invite them to reflect on what they are leaning towards, away from and what their support is. The textile is sewn together in the ends, this way making an unbreakable circle.
Photo: Bjarte Bjørkum
Leaning Exercise no. 3 (dance class activation, 21.04.22, 17.00-19.00) is a collaboration with Bergen Dansesenter (impro class and contemporary dance classes amateurs level 1 and 2). This exercise takes shape as a workshop, and the class is instructed and guided through it. Through interpretation of instructions, activation of the textiles, exploration of positions of leaning on/from different support structures, the participants also discover personal expression. The essence is that the participants experience support, provide support and find different positions for rest. This exercise starts inside Bergen Kunsthall, spreads out around Lille Lungegårdsvannet, and ends back inside.
Photo: Morten Tellefsen
Leaning exercise no. 4 (professionals activation, 07.05.22, 14.00-16.00) is a collaboration with professional dancers Tilly Sordat, Lin van Kaam and Nadege Kubwayo. It is important for me to create safe boundaries and build up a framework of scores. This way the exercise is not too open, but it still has its own life, its own will to exist and become. It has the potential to take up much or little space, opportunity for contraction and release.
Photo: Morten Tellefsen