Virgilio Sieni is one of the most important protagonists of contemporary dance. Choreographer and dancer, Sieni in 2015 presented the project “Atlas of gesture” in Milan for Fondazione Prada, a series of choreographic actions conceived by Virgilio Sieni for its new Milan venue. The project was articulated in the presentation of choreographic cycles, research phases and screenings and screenings. He was the director of the Venice Biennale-Dance Sector from 2013 to 2016 and today Virgilio arrives in Matera as curator of the third exhibition of I-DEA, a project of Matera European Capital of Culture 2019.
We are in Cava Paradiso, a few kilometers outside Matera. Here, in the Archaeological Natural Historical Park of the Chiese Rupestri, in 2007 the artist Antonio Paradiso created his sculpture park in an abandoned tuff quarry. In this wonderful context the curator Joseph Grima presents I-DEA, a project curated in collaboration with Chiara Siravo for Matera Capital of Culture 2019 dedicated to the topic of the archives. After two appointments – the first one with the photographer Mario Cresci, the second with the duo Formafantasma – on September 12 it was Virgilio Sieni’s turn with “Thauma, Atlante del Gesto”. The choreographer brings to the European capital of culture a project that is divided into various appointments dedicated to the gesture and the idea of creating an archive in the making of the gesture through exhibitions, installations, practices, choreographic actions, performances and special projects. Together with his team of anthropologists, diarists, architects, archivists, photographers, videomakers and with the very active participation of citizens, Virgilio Sieni curates an exhibition about the exploration of the body and the idea of accumulation and collecting.
The special set-up conceived by Elisa Giuliano, Martha Schwindling and Antonio Elettrico and by Virgilio Sieni with the Open Design School provides an open and modular system that is reused for each I-DEA appointment. Thus, the visitor, who had come in June to see Formafantasma’s work, will be able to review the same elements used differently, as if the installation itself were a living part of the exhibition.
“Thauma, Atlante del Gesto” is an exhibition with choreographic actions.
On the evening of Thursday 12 September, at 6 pm, he presented “Domestic Dances” accompanied by live music by Roberto Cecchetto. What is “Domestic Dances”? A series of citizens were selected and together with Sieni they collected a series of objects taken from their homes (archived, collected in their lifetime) which became a work of art on display. Sieni has chosen a bodily gesture for each person involved and, using the objects of their private houses, he has reproduced their form in a sort of installation: each person is photographed in the chosen gesture and portrayed next to their “installation” made with the old telephones, their old radio, the Barbie House of their sons, the family portraits.. A journey among their memories.
What about future appointments? On the 19th and 22nd the “Dances of the Frontier”.The grand finale will be “Officina Tattile” in the Teatro Quaroni in Borgo La Martella designed by Ludovico Quaroni, with performances, workshops, dialogues for creating a catalog of the gestures that will arise from the meeting between Virgilio Sieni and the Borgo La Martella people and all will end with a final collective dance with citizens, dancers, and performers of all ages and backgrounds.
Text by Bianca Felicori