Allora & Calzadilla: Body in Flight (Delta)
Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion
Exhibition performances will be held March 9-April 22.
Thursdays at 6:30 pm | Fridays at 5:30 pm | Saturdays/Sundays at 2 pm
The Indianapolis Museum of Art was selected to present the work of the Puerto Rico-based artist collaborative Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla in an exhibition titled Gloria at the U.S. Pavilion during La Biennale di Venezia, the 54th International Art Exhibition, on view in Venice from June 4–November 27, 2011. Often referred to as the Olympics of contemporary art, since its founding in 1895, the Biennale has promoted contemporary culture, new ideas, and artistic trends through major exhibitions organized by countries from around the world that have the opportunity to be awarded gold or silver medals for their innovation.
Body in Flight (Delta) was one of the six new works featured in Gloria. To celebrate the Biennale and that this work is accessible to local audiences through the addition of Body in Flight (Delta) to the IMA’s permanent collection, the work will be sited in the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion for the duration of six weeks. During this time, the work will serve as a platform for ongoing performances by local gymnasts. For Body in Flight (Delta), Allora & Calzadilla appropriated the form of a business class airline seat and reproduced it in full-scale. When activated by a female gymnast in her red, white, and blue competitive unitard, the painted, wooden airline seat replica becomes an unlikely gymnastic apparatus reminiscent of a balance beam. The female gymnasts perform a routine developed by Olympic gymnasts, Allora & Calzadilla, and choreographer Rebecca Davis. This routine, which emphasizes flexibility and fluidity, is an unexpected combination of gymnastic skills and modern dance techniques.
Allora & Calzadilla use an additive method of artistic creation. For their work, the artists use what they refer to as “poetic glue” to fuse dissimilar objects, activities, or sounds. This results in artworks and performances that give new meanings to familiar forms, allowing for limitless possibilities of reinterpretation. For Body in Flight (Delta), the artists have destabilized the rigorous field of competitive gymnastics, contaminating signature gymnastics movements with elements of modern dance choreography. While a typical gymnastics routine lasts only a couple of minutes, the 17-minute performance for Body in Flight (Delta) tests the athlete’s endurance. This new, seemingly gravity-defying routine contradicts the intention of the luxurious business class seat, which was designed to disguise the thrust of the plane’s trajectory and allow for maximum comfort of the passenger. The artists recreate the Delta seat in wood as if it were a polychromatic religious icon in order to make a comparison between venerated relics from the past and objects of admiration from our capitalist culture today.
Working together since 1995, Jennifer Allora (b. 1974, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971, Havana, Cuba) are a collaborative that lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Allora & Calzadilla create works that blend sculpture, photography, performance, sound, and video. Their work has been featured in solo exhibitions internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Kunstmuseum Krefeld, Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld (2009); National Museum of Art, Oslo (2009); Haus der Kunst, Münich (2008); Renaissance Society, Chicago (2007); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2007); Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich (2007); and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2006); among others.
The collaborative pair has also been included in group exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); 24th and 29th Bienal de São Paulo (1998/2010); Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2009); Barbican, London (2008); Prospect1, New Orleans (2008); 16th Biennale of Sydney (2008); New Museum, New York (2008); 8e and 9e Biennale de Lyon (2005/2007); 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007); Whitney Biennial, New York (2006); Musée d’Art Moderne de La Ville de Paris/Arc (2004); Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis (2003); and Tate Modern Galleries, London (2003); among others.
Allora received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond in Virginia (1996) and a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003) and was a fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Calzadilla received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Escuela de Artes Plásticas, San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996) and a Master of Fine Arts from Bard College (2003).