Global Groove

Art, dance, performance and protest

13 AUG – 14 NOV 2021, Museum Folkwang, Essen

Dance is communication. Steps, gestures, situations, happenings, processes and rituals – the exhibition Global Groove at the Museum Folkwang presents artistic methods that represent protest against strict borders and entrenched regimes simply through their chosen materials such as the body, light, colour, fabric and the voice. A prologue and six chapters are provided by choreographers, dancers, artists and intellectuals from Europe, the USA and Asia in a polylogue of cultures.

Following firmly in the tradition of the Folkwang Collection and the modus operandi of its founder Karl Ernst Osthaus, the exhibition explores dance and the influences operating within it between Western and Asian cultures, tracing which images from the other culture helped to shape artists’ understanding and imagination. What influence did these early global interactions have on the canon and the history of modernism? Who were the first transnational ambassadors? And what value do their messages have for contemporary art and dance?

The interdisciplinary show looks at over 120 years of art and dance history. Ranging from contemporary collaborations to the first happenings by Japanese butoh dancers and the pioneers of modern dance, Global Groove follows a Western-Eastern cultural history back to the early performances of Asian dancers in Europe around 1900. Photographs, paintings, sculptures, films and a life performance show the part that the language of dance plays in the social, political and cultural transformation of societies.

Artists Pina Bausch, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Eiko & Koma, Madame Hanako, Tatsumi Hijikata, Claire Holt, Eikoh Hosoe, Leiko Ikemura, Mette Ingvartsen, Raden Mas Jodjana, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Yves Klein, Anouk Kruithof, Isamu Noguchi, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Auguste Rodin, Ulrike Rosenbach, Uday Shankar, Simon Starling, Pae White, Mary Wigman, Haegue Yang and others