Hammer Museum

Hammer Projects: Maria Hassabi

31 Jan - 01 Mar 2015

© Maria Hassabi
SoloShow, 2009
Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Jason Schmidt.
31 January - 1 March 2015

The artist and choreographer Maria Hassabi’s performances and live installations of the past decade have been described as explorations of stillness, slowness, and sustained movement. Even more so, her works—produced for galleries, theaters, and public spaces—address the separation between the spectacular and the everyday, between subject and object, between performer and audience. Her extended-length choreographies often require dancers to move slowly, sustain positions, and hold poses while performing in a variety of contexts. In INTERMISSION—first presented as part of the Cypriot and Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013—Hassabi and two other dancers performed continuously for consecutive days in a cavernous gymnasium that housed the exhibition, becoming part of a tableau that included the work of other artists and the bodies of visitors. Hassabi’s PREMIERE, which debuted in 2013 at the Kitchen in New York, similarly addressed the expectations of viewership by calling attention to beginnings and endings in performance-based works. Extending over eighty-three minutes, PREMIERE pitted the rapt attention of a seated audience against five dancers performing a slow rotational turn. The length of the work was determined by the time it took for the performers, who started out with their backs to the audience, to turn 180 degrees in order to face the onlookers.

In PLASTIC, presented here for the first time, Hassabi expands these themes to relate specifically to the spatial conditions of the Hammer Museum and the disparate conventions of display within the performing and visual arts. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, her performers continuously enact a form of live installation in the gallery and the museum’s outdoor spaces, bridging the conceptual and physical divide between performer and object, bystander and viewer, while addressing the ways in which dance and the spectacle of performance are presented in theatrical and exhibition contexts.

Hammer Projects: Maria Hassabi is organized by Hammer curator Aram Moshayedi with MacKenzie Stevens, curatorial assistant.

Performed by Hristoula Harakas, Maria Hassabi, Molly Lieber, and Oisín Monaghan.
Additional performances by Alison D’Amato, Ellen Gerdes, Casey Lin Brown, Gwyneth Shanks, and Devika Wickermesinghe.
Sound design by Morten Norbye Halvorsen.
Lighting consultation by Chu-Hsuan Chan.
Styling by threeASFOUR.
Produced by Ash Bulayev.
Maria Hassabi: PLASTIC is co-commissioned by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

The New York–based director, choreographer, and artist Maria Hassabi (b. 1973, Nicosia, Cyprus) received a BFA in performance and choreography in 1994 from the California Institute of the Arts. Hassabi’s works have been presented internationally in theaters, festivals, museums, galleries, and public spaces, including Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels (2014); Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2014); Le Mouvement: Performing the City, CentrePasquArt, Biel, Switzerland (2014); Kunsthall Oslo (2014); Performa, New York (2013, 2009); the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); ImPulsTanz, Vienna (2013, 2011, 2006); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2012); Springdance Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands (2012); The Kitchen, New York (2013, 2011, 2006); Kaaitheater, Brussels (2014, 2013, 2010); Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium (2012); deSingel, Antwerp, Belgium (2011, 2010); Tanz im August, Berlin (2011); Museo Soumaya, Mexico City (2011); Panorama Festival, Rio de Janeiro (2012); Festival Contemporâneo de Dança, São Paulo (2012); and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art TBA Festival, Portland, Oregon (2010). Hassabi is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the 2009 Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Grants to Artists Award.

Tags: Morten Norbye Halvorsen, Maria Hassabi