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William Forsythe Inspires Movement with “Choreographic Objects” July 2, 2019


Forsythe video - HSPVA dancer

William Forsythe, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 2, 2013, plumb bobs, string, compressed air cylinders, and aluminum frames. © William Forsythe, courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery, New York

William Forsythe, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 2, 2013, plumb bobs, string, compressed air cylinders, and aluminum frames. © William Forsythe, courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery, New York

The summer exhibition William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects is in full swing, welcoming visitors into a series of performance spaces created by internationally acclaimed choreographer William Forsythe.

The works in his renowned Choreographic Objects reveal the ways we consciously and unconsciously move through space and time, interact with one another, and respond to both the potential and the limits of our own bodies.

First Impressions
Dancers from Houston’s Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) were among the first to experience the immersive exhibition at the MFAH. “Although I have never worked with Forsythe, my impression of him as a choreographer is that he’s a risk taker,” said their instructor, Courtney Jones.

William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects | Trailer #1 from Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Vimeo.

Acting and Reacting
Forsythe’s monumental Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 2 invites visitors to navigate their way through a field of pendulums that swing from a grid on the ceiling, in a mechanized choreographic pattern.

“I immediately wanted to be all up in that,” Jones said. “I wanted to be around it, in it, under it, suspended in it. I wanted to improvise, I wanted to react to it and react because of it.”

Moving Through
The dancers moved gracefully through the pendulums, and then they stretched their limbs in front of Forsythe’s interactive video wall: City of Abstracts. The massive screen captures, spirals, and melds the images of the people in front of it, prompting group participation.

Blurring the Lines
One of the foremost choreographers of our time, Forsythe began his ongoing series of Choreographic Objects in 1991. Blurring the lines between performance, sculpture, video, and installation, the series invites you to connect to the organizing principles of choreography. That facet of his work was a revelation to the students. “I think they were surprised to see that Mr. Forsythe’s reach goes far beyond his role as a choreographer in a literal sense,” Jones said.

► See William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects in the Law Building through September 15.

William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects | Trailer #2 from Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Vimeo.