Monday, June 29, 2009

Resposne to Akarova and the Belgian Avant-Garde

Andrew, N. (2009). Living Art: Akarova and the Belgian Avant-Garde. Art journal, 68(2) 26-49.

This week I will be responding to an article found in the most recent issue of Art Journal. The article by Nell Andrew, examines the link between avant-garde Belgian Art, and the avant-Garde choreography of Belgian dancer Akarova.

Andrew explains first the connections between the art movement in Belgium of the early twenties, and the dance movement of which Akarova was involved. Post World-War I Beguim, as Andrew pointed out, was influenced by many of the countries it bordered. This included Germany, France, and the Netherlands. As a result the art being produced was following the trends in these countries, including Symbolism, and German Expressionism. The daughter of an architect, Andrew explains how Akarova grew up surrounded by her parents literary and artsits friends who strongly influenced her decisions as she began to study dance. Andrew argues that, with particular influence placed on the 7 Arts group, it was this movement that caused Akarova to take her dance in a more avant-garde direction.

Andrew went on to explain, as the ideals of Futurism, Cubism, and Constructivism entered Belguim, Akarova adopted traits associated with these movements. These traits include an emphasis on lighting, design, space, audience experience, political content over the more traditional dramatic contexts of theater. Andrew explained how the idea of movement without motion became central to the way Akarova danced. The author described how Akarova re-formed music in the service of dance rather than separating music from dance, as many modern dance choreographers were doing at that time.

This article was well written, and thought provoking. From my perception it isn't often that two types of art are explored. I find the arts to be very compartmentalized. This article however, nicely explored issues of the visual arts and modern dance.

If the expressive content is similar, i.e. motion and movement why are the arts so distinctly divided? I think it is due to the way creative people work. As a visual artist I like to work alone, on my own thoughts, and in my own way. I also think that this is not uncommon. As the creative process begins in a solitary exploration, this idea of working alone continues throughout to the end of the project. That said, I think It would be interesting to see more collaboration between the arts.

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