From 17.00 hrs on Friday 19 March to 11.00 hrs on Saturday 20 March, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution will take over the ‘Oudbouw’ of the Van Abbemuseum for the entire evening, night and morning. From Dusk Till Dawn will include an exhibition, a performance programme and a series of lectures by twenty internationally renowned artists and thinkers, including Keren Cytter, Jon Mikel Euba, Olivier Foulon, Suchan Kinoshita, Joachim Koester, Sarah Pierce, Peggy Phelan, and Lars Bang Larsen. During this night If I Can’t Dance will also launch the publication (Mis)reading Masquerades. In the Van Abbemuseum’s clock tower, a live radio programme covers the whole event from dusk till dawn.
Since August 2008, If I Can’t Dance developed a long term project aiming at configuring an alternative conceptual framework for the notion of masquerade. Through collaborating with five European art institutions* – and commissioning new works by six artists, Keren Cytter, Jon Mikel Euba, Olivier Foulon, Joachim Koester, Suchan Kinoshita, and Sarah Pierce – If I Can’t Dance has chosen for a modus operandi in which artists’ practice and context specificity are directive. As a rolling platform that wants to explore the potential of performance, If I Can’t Dance in addition, has invited in the last two years another 12 artists to reflect on the notion of the masquerade within the series of If I Can’t Dance Tonight presented in Frascati theatre in Amsterdam. Guided by the motto ‘contemplation interrupted by action’ (borrowed from the artist Hanne Darboven) If I Can’t Dance has set up this travelling project as an ongoing open field research, interspersed by public presentation moments, presented at the venues mentioned, and articulating the engaged artists singular viewpoints. In addition, a wide range of cultural practitioners have been engaged in imagining what this notion of the masquerade could mean and entail, and what – alternative – approaches or perspectives it could be susceptible to.
From Dusk Till Dawn in The Van Abbemuseum
All these ‘protagonists’ will be present at the final installment of Edition III – Masquerade at the Van Abbemuseum which will take place on March 19 and 20 – from dusk till dawn. If I Can’t Dance starts its programme on Friday the 19th of March at 5pm, the moment the museum normally closes its doors for the public. The programme continues the whole evening, night, and morning, until Saturday the 20th at 11am, the moment the museum normally opens its doors for the public. Inspired by the masquerade theme, the programme aims to explore the ‘flip side’ of the museum, or in other words, the museum’s reality ‘after hours’. If I Can’t Dance’s ongoing focus on performance and performativity, is the incentive for a curatorial approach that allows for an investigation of the museum’s spaces as sites for performative presence. So, in the VAM, from dusk till dawn, you’ll encounter works – part of the exhibition or the performance programme – by the artists part of Edition III – Masquerade, as well as lectures, presented by theoreticians part of If I Can’t Dance’s discursive programme. And although we are sure these contributions will gently lead you through the night, more ‘fuel’ to stay awake is offered by musical acts, as well as exercises outside.
From Dusk Till Dawn is an ‘interruption’ in the Van Abbe’s current, long term critical research on the meaning of the institution of the museum and its collection in the 21st century. The show installed in the old part of the museum previous to the moment If I Can’t Dance pays respect to this space, is a reconstruction of the 1983 summer show composed by the museum’s director at the time, Rudi Fuchs. If I Can’t Dance will keep one part of this excellent hallmark of associative curating, in place, which is the work Fragments einer Rede by Daniel Buren, aiming to activate both its performative and carnivalesque potential.
The Reading Group participants, gathering every month in If I Can’t Dance’s premises in Amsterdam, as well as the artists, guests and mentors part of the workshops organised by If I Can’t Dance in collaboration with Dutch Art Institute and Piet Zwart Institute, have shed and shared their invaluable light on the topic. This discursive activity If I Can’t Dance ventured the last two years, has materialised in the publication (Mis)reading Masquerades, containing a selection of the texts read by the Reading Group and introduced by its members, artist’s contributions by the DAI and PZ workshop participants, and essays by the guests/mentors involved.
*Partners Edition III – Masquerade
Overgaden – Institute of Contemporary Art (Copenhagen), de Appel arts centre (Amsterdam), Project Arts Centre (Dublin), Sala Rekalde (Bilbao) and Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven).