Babette Mangolte: "Touching" (2008) in the exhibition. Photograph: Andreas Süß

Babette Mangolte (USA)

The photographer and experimental film-maker Babette Mangolte was one of the most important chroniclers of the dance and performance scene in New York in the 1970s. Over many years, she documented the pioneers of performance art and postmodern dance, including Joan Jonas, Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown. She is especially skilled at translating the subversion and newness of live actions and dance into photographs, installations and films.

For her installation "Touching" (2008), Mangolte opened her extensive archive and selected more than one hundred photographs. The installation features performances including "This is a story of a woman who ..." (1973) by Yvonne Rainer and several works by Trisha Brown, such as "Group Accumulation" (1971–1973) and "Roof Piece" (1973). "This is a story of a woman who ... " marks Yvonne Rainer’s transition from choreography to film. It is the basis for the later film with a similar title. In a key scene a woman’s anger at her male partner is expressed in an extended slow-motion fight.

Most performances are experienced only by a small group of people, and only reach a larger audience through documentation. The documentary footage is shaped by the documenter’s subjective point of view and through the selection of images by participants. As a result, the complexity of the performances is reduced over time to a few iconographic images. How these are viewed is also based on the subjective imagination of the beholder. "Touching" explores how we see, feel and touch performance photography. Visitors are invited to view and compare the contact sheets and photographic prints, and through this performative act, re-create their own image of performance.

Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramović
Film by Babette Mangolte USA (2007, 93 min), shown during the conference programme in the presence of the artist

In November of 2005 Marina Abramović performed "Seven Easy Pieces" in the rotunda at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; in this week-long series of performances she re-enacted seminal performance works from the 1960s and 70s by Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, VALIE EXPORT, Gina Pane, Joseph Beuys and herself, interpreting them as one would a musical score. The film "Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramović" is a reflection on performance art and body art outlining physical fragility, versatility, tenacity and unlimited endurance as seen in the work of Marina Abramović.


In the Exhibition:

"Touching", 2008. Installation with performance and dance photographs by above all Yvonne Rainer "Story of a woman who..." (1973) and "Lives of Performers" (1972), Trisha Brown "Roof Piece" (1973) und "Group Accumulation" (1971–1973), Robert Whitman "Prune Flat" (1976) and "Light Touch" (1976)
"Collage 2", 2007, Video 29:08min, Loop.

In the Conference Programme :

"Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramović", 2007, 93 min.


Babette Mangolte Website
Broadway 1602, New York