Maramotti Collection

Shen Wei

20 - 23 Oct 2011

Shen Wei
“Slide Turn White” (detail).
Re-Turn. Artistic Vision of Shen Wei
20 - 23 October 2011

Collezione Maramotti and Teatro Valli Reggio Emilia

The appearance in Reggio Emilia of the choreographer, director, dancer, painter and designer Shen Wei, miraculously poised between East and West, will be a return (re-turn) to the city that hosted him during the Fondazione I Teatri’s 2009 season with the diptych Re- (Part I) and Map.
The project, which is part of the Aperto Festival 2011 programme (7th October – 6th November 2011) devoted to contemporary productions, sees the Fondazione I Teatri alongside the Collezione Maramotti and Max Mara hosting a site-specific dance performance in the galleries of the Collezione Maramotti (21st and 23rd October), the European premieres of Near the Terrace, and of 0-11 at the Teatro Valli (22nd October) and a conversation between the artist himself and the journalist from la Repubblica Leonetta Bentivoglio (20th October).

“Through many years of experimentation, I have developed an iconic, deeply personalized mode of pure movement. My aesthetics have been grounded in the principles of basic movement structures.
Lately, I have become focused on energies that affect movement structures: from the way energy organically makes our world move, to the ways in which internal human energies – breath, weight, center, balance – are interconnected. I am fascinated by the affect these energies have on the body and mind, providing access into new dimensions of thought. I see this new framework, both spiritual and physical, as an ideal space for introducing aspects of cultural shifts brought by the digital revolution, integrating new technologies and unfamiliar electronic sounds – all of which will create a new way for audiences to experience live performance.”
– Shen Wei

Still Moving is the very recent work commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the museum’s Charles Engelhard Court (6 and 13 June 2011): a site-specific creation performed by Shen Wei’s company (Shen Wei Dance Arts), in which he experimented with contrasting the beauty of the stationary body and the beauty of the moving body, creating a dialogue between the dancers and the marble and bronze sculptures produced by renowned twentieth-century American artists.

In his new work, created specifically for the Collezione Maramotti, Shen Wei shifts his focus from the past glories of the sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum to the contemporary artworks exhibited at the Collezione Maramotti.
During his first visit to the Collection in 2009, Shen Wei was inspired by the strong and daring aesthetic impact of the Collection, whose “works look the future fearlessly in the eye, and at other times show anxiety and perplexity for the unknown” – alluding to the uncertainty and sense of inquiry aroused by contemporary art. The Collection is also an ideal venue, capable of stimulating a potential and new artistic milieu for Shen Wei.
In this new production, Shen Wei will shift the spectators’ vision from the perspective typical of the visitor, and make them witness and participate in a dialogue that thrives on the exchange of energies between the dancers and the artworks.
Proceeding in this way, Shen Wei intends to reveal a new frame of reference, a new setting in which visitors can consider the works of contemporary art from a new and personal perspective.
The Collezione Maramotti is thus confirming its vocation to explore new expressive languages, having already hosted in 2009 the production Early Works by Trisha Brown, another representative figure of contemporary dance.

At the Teatro Valli, the Chinese-born artist Shen Wei will be presenting the European premiere of Near the Terrace. As the artist explains:
“Near the Terrace, Part I was created in 2000 during a period when I was questioning everyday movements and exploring their connection to different sensibilities of dance technique and performance. I began detailed work on simple center-controlled movements in relationship to spatial, temporal, and visual elements. My research of this concept first led to the creation of Folding (2000). Several months later, I continued to examine the movement concepts I began in Folding, while also studying the work of surrealist Belgian painter Paul Delvaux. His paintings became the inspiration for Near the Terrace, Part I. On many levels, I feel his paintings connect to the sensibilities I was in search of in my art during this period”.
Another European premiere is the solo 0-11 taken from Limited States, the artist’s latest work, presented in July 2011 at the American Dance Festival and created for Sara Procopio, one of the dancers in the company, to celebrate her 11 years with Shen Wei Dance Arts.
Re- (Part III), the third piece of choreography to be performed at Teatro Municipale Valli, was inspired by a reflection on China: “In the summer of 2007, I traveled for 40 days on China's Silk Road-from Beijing to Xi'an, west to Dunhuang into Xinjiang, as far as Turpan and Kashgar, ancient oases kingdoms along the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. Some months later, I returned to a transformed Beijing to work on the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. The experience of this modern city drew into conversation my experience of living in New York City for these last 14 years. While the cities share certain apparent "modern" elements, they are also still quite different. I began to observe a powerful contrast between an Asian concept of social unity, dependence, and sharing, and the dominance of individuality in the West-two notes on a spectrum on endless reconstructions of our human society”.

For Shen Wei this is part of a vortex of creativity: on Thursday 20th October at 7 pm at the Maramotti Collection, Leonetta Bentivoglio, critic and journalist for la Repubblica, will meet this artist with an all-round vision of art, who combines painting and dance, choreography and calligraphy, East and West, as a result of his broad training that is the driving force of his relationship with live creation - on stage, on canvas and in life.

Shen Wei grew up in China and his childhood was devoted to learning calligraphy and the secrets of Chinese opera. In 1995 he moved to New York and in 2000 he founded Shen Wei Dance Arts, one of the most interesting groups on the international dance scene.

Tags: Trisha Brown, Paul Delvaux