Simone Forti says of her work, “I am interested in what we know about things through our bodies,” and although she is considered a key figure in postmodern dance and Minimal art, she prefers the term “movement artist”. Simone Forti was born in 1935 in Florence, Italy and immigrated with her Jewish family in 1939 via Switzerland to Los Angeles, USA, where she grew up and meanwhile lives again after many other stations in her life. As artist, choreographer, dancer, and writer she is a pioneer. In the past few years, artists of a younger generation have reached out to collaborate with her, suggesting the great relevance of Simone Forti’s work for the present day. Her work has been presented at art institutions throughout the world. The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is preparing a retrospective offering the first extensive presentation of this influential artist’s diverse work. This first retrospective of Simone Forti’s oeuvre will present a total of 200 works organized in six zones in the exhibition.
Simone Forti’s work is, in general, dedicated to experiment and improvisation. Following the U.S. artist Robert Morris, a line connects Duchamp through Cage with Forti’s work, which is “part of the larger history of modernism.” Among her most well-known works are the Dance Constructions (1960–61); these minimalist objects made of plywood and ropes, which were first presented in New York, and—among others, staged in Yoko Ono’s loft as a type of sculpture garden—evoked radical new dances. Furthermore, the exhibition will present her works with holograms, drawing series, sound pieces, as well as videos and documentation of performances. Forti’s examination of the relationship of object and body in interplay with mental processes and language are an important contribution to the interface between sculpture and performance. Her work is considered forerunner to the renowned Judson Dance Theater (a collaboration of artists who experimented with dance, including Trisha Brown, Steve Paxton, and Yvonne Rainer, among others) and minimal Minimal art. In the late 1960s — and, among other things, influenced by the writings of ethologist Konrad Lorenz — Forti, who lived in Rome near the zoo at the time, began to develop performances based on the animals’ movements. In her most recent works, the News Animations, she examines how current events can be reflected in dance.
The Dance Constructions and further performances by Forti will be performed daily at the Museum am Mönchsberg and in the public space. In the first week of the exhibition, from July 18 to 25, 2014, public workshops will be given by the artist with students from the SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance) who under Forti’s guidance will rehearse performances by the artist, and then present them in the context of the exhibition.
The exhibition is organized by the MdM Salzburg.
Curators: Sabine Breitwieser, Director, with Katja Mittendorfer-Oppolzer, Curatorial Assistant, MdM Salzburg
An exhibition catalogue will be published in German and English.