Rob List: Performances, Parker’s Box, Brooklyn, NY

Rob List in The Figure Series

June 4-27, 2010

Rob List with Melissa Cisneros, Diego Gil, Constance Neuenschwander, Olivia Reschovsky, Tjebbe Roelefs, and David Weber-Krebs

Parker’s Box is delighted to announce a collaborative, interactive, performance project by Amsterdam-based artist, Rob List.

Rob List’s performance work has enjoyed a constant international presence since the early nineteen-eighties despite the fact that his practice has remained particularly difficult to categorize.

The work has often been seen as both primitive and minimal, in that in most of List’s works he actively seeks to avoid the “representation of human experience”, wanting instead to create a “source of it”. With this stated intention, while technically his pieces involve elements or suggestions of minimalist theater, dance and mime, his energy is primarily invested in a reflection on the relationship between forms and the space they inhabit. In this way, Rob List’s performances seek to engage the spectator in a direct experience of the space they are sharing with the performer(s), free of representation or narrative, and concentrating simply on stimulating our awareness of physical presence and the fact that “the world exists because of our perception”.

This dynamic and this involvement between performer and spectator gently persuades the audience to embrace the here and now of their own and the performer(s)’ presence in a given space, without analysis and interpretation of meaning. Rob List encourages the audience to “recall the authenticity and the primacy of this perception” which requires no thoughts of, recourse to, or need for the virtual and digital universes in which we all spend ever-increasing amounts of our time.

Rob List’s work relates to many disciplines, including painting and sculpture, performance, theater, dance and mime as well as certain aspects of film, video, installation etc. In so much art today, the most frequent common ground between such diverse practices would be that “every gesture and action…seems to provoke the question “What does this mean?” Again, this is precisely the area evacuated by List in favor of a pared down relationship with the “real” that may ultimately be closer to certain abstract painting tendencies than to anything that occurs “onstage”.

At Parker’s Box during the month of June, Rob List will be orchestrating a body of ongoing performances, collaborations, research and experiments characteristic of the activities he has pioneered through his company, OZU, and before that in the context of the Institute of New Dramaturgy (Amsterdam) of which he is a founder and former director. Different works will be programmed at different times throughout the project, including performances by request for every viewer who visits the gallery during the afternoon, and daily performances in the evening (starting at 4 and 6PM) and at night (11PM).

For the work On the Balcony, Rob List has invited Mexican performance artist Melissa Cisneros and Hungarian choreographer/dancer Olivia Reschovsky to create solo movement works for the space. Visitors for On the Balcony are led into a specially created room for a five-minute movement performance that occurs just at the periphery of the visitor’s sight.

In two works from the Folly series (playing on the notion of the vain and absurd act/gesture, whether architectural or otherwise), the sober minimal movements of the performers Rob List and Swiss performer, Constance Neuenschwander revolve around a painted ‘folly.’

Suggestions of hybridization or cloning hover over works like Injerto/Greffe (Graft) featuring the Belgian performer, David Weber-Krebs, Dutch mime Tjebbe Roelofs, and the Argentine choreographer/dancer, Diego Gil; or Ter Kloon (on the matter of the clone) with Hungarian choreographer/dancer, Olivia Reschovsky. These works while dealing with fusion and multiplication of course link back into the central question of the individual body and its relationship to time – as a continual falling away of the present moment – and by extension to the fragility and vanity of human experience.

For the final weekend of the project, Rob List will also be presenting two solo works: Natura Morta, and Engrave, which in different ways dwell on notions of life and death, or the insignificance of gesture in the face of eternity – ultimately homing in once again on the status of the individual in the world. Rob List’s ability to simplify and pare down the content of performance art, removing almost all meaning except what ends up being nothing more than Man’s primal musing about his existence, conversely endows his work with incredible sophistication in the face of the contrasting sophistication of the contemporary world. In his own words, he refers to this as “a desire to return to the simplicity and authenticity of the perceptual animal and the perceptual consciousness. In each performance I wish to embody this literally, in a corporal way”.

Rob List is an American-born performance artist, choreographer and teacher who has been based in Europe for the last twenty-five years. In the early 1980’s he toured internationally in the avant-garde theater and film productions of Ping Chong and Meredith Monk, as well as performing his own movement theater work at La Mama and the Kitchen in New York. Rob List is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the 1997 Dutch Theater Directors Award and a 2002 Kunstprijs from the City of Amsterdam for his entire oeuvre. He was a 2004 Fulbright Scholar and a former recipient of an NEA Choreographic Fellowship.

Rob List’s solo shows and those with OZU include performances at Accusé de Réception, Paris, the Kitchen, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He appeared with Ping Chong at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Osaka Festival, with Ellen Fischer at PS122 and Limbo Lounge, and Meredith Monk in the PBS/ZDF film “Ellis Island.” List has created and performed numerous compositions in recent years at theatres, galleries and international festivals in Europe, the USA, and South America.