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my body’s an exhibition - Lilian Baylis Studio

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SADLER’S Wells’ Wild Card programme returns with more offerings from a new generation of artists, curating their own evenings.

On Thursday, May 14, 2020, American-born, London-based Christopher Matthews curates a special event in the Lilian Baylis Studio.

Featuring several movement-based installations, my body’s an exhibition opens a dialogue on themes of gender, class structure, intersections of the classical and contemporary, icon versus self, and pop culture.

Taking the Janet Jackson lyrics from the 2008 song Feedback – “my body’s an exhibition baby” – as a curatorial provocation, audiences are invited to question the relationship between the body as object and spectatorship, echoed in the lyrics describing the sensual urges of two bodies coming into contact.

In this event, Matthews builds on his practice of investigating the relationship between dance’s historical position and its mirroring in pop culture.

As part of this curation, four international performance makers and visual artists present a series of works, some of which remain previously unseen in London. Phoebe Berglund (US), Fenia Kotsopoulou (Greece/UK), Bhenji Ra (Australia) and Fabritia D’Intino (Italy) display video, photographic prints and live installations alongside body-focused prints from the Sadler’s Wells archive, as well as two of Matthews’ own works.

Lads (2017/18) exposes the influence of neo-classical culture on early modern dance, isolating a popular hashtag in order to challenge traditional gender roles. Lads can be experienced as an Instagram-based curation (@lads2017). UK premiere My Body’s Number 1 explores class structure through references to go-go boys and Greco-Roman nudes.

Matthews comments: “As a performer, I have had the privilege to perform in theatres like Sadler’s Wells and now I am excited to have the opportunity to be showing my own work here, as well as inviting such wonderful artists I respect.”

Matthews has performed in countless London venues including The Hayward Gallery, Tate Modern, The V&A and The Barbican. His Untitled Video Portrait (radio edit) took First Prize at the ninth International Choreographic Captures Competition (2017).

Tickets: £17. To book, call the ticket office on 020 7863 8000 or visit www.sadlerswells.com/.

Entry: 6pm, 7pm and 8pm.