Yvonne Rainer.
Space, Body, Language

April 28 - Ju­ly 29, 2012

Be­gin­n­ing on April 28, the Mu­se­um Lud­wig, Cologne, will show the first Eu­ro­pean ret­ro­spec­tive of Yvonne Rain­er. It was de­vel­oped in tan­dem with the Kun­sthaus Bre­genz  and the Get­ty Re­search In­sti­tute in Los An­ge­les. Yvonne Rain­er al­ready par­ti­ci­pat­ed in the 1977 Doc­u­men­ta; New York’s Mu­se­um of Mod­ern Art and the Tate Mod­ern in Lon­don ded­i­cat­ed film ret­ro­spec­tives to her. With “S­pace, Body, Lan­guage,“ the Mu­se­um Lud­wig and the Kun­sthaus Bre­genz pre­sent for the first time the en­tire mul­ti-facett­ed oeu­vre of Yvonne Rain­er.

Yvonne Rain­er is a chore­o­g­ra­pher, dancer, ac­tivist, po­et, and film­mak­er. All her artis­tic ac­tiv­i­ties are in­ter­re­lat­ed. As dancer, chore­o­g­ra­pher and film­mak­er, Yvonne Rain­er has in­flu­enced conti­nous­ly, for over fif­ty years, art, dance, and film. Her in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary work is es­pe­cial­ly high­ly rel­e­vant to­day. Yvonne Rain­er was born in San Fran­cis­co in 1934 and moved to New York as ear­ly as 1957, where she studied dance with the le­g­ends Martha Gra­ham and Merce Cun­n­ing­ham. How­ev­er, she soon moved away from their in­flu­ence as ex­pres­sive dance and the pheno­menon of chance be­came in­creas­ing­ly less in­ter­est­ing to her. Her ex­pe­ri­ences with the dancer An­na Hal­prin and the mu­si­cian Robert Dunn, who had been trained by John Cage, led to the found­ing of the Jud­son Dance The­ater in New York in the ear­ly 1960s. This is al­so the time when she be­gan to de­vel­op friend­ships with Si­mone For­ti, David Gor­don, Steve Pax­ton, and Tr­isha Brown. At the Jud­son, Yvonne Rain­er was in close con­tact with such artists as Robert Rauschen­berg, Robert Mor­ris, and Carl An­dre, who were in­volved in her dance pie­ces as ac­tors or in other ways. To­day, her com­pari­son of Min­i­mal Art and dance is le­g­endary. In it, she de­mon­s­trates how close the ad­vanced prac­tices of vi­su­al artists and dance were in the 1960s.

In the 1970s, Yvonne Rain­er turned her back on the stage and be­gan to di­rect movies. In them, she unit­ed fic­tion and re­al­i­ty as well as per­so­n­al and po­lit­i­cal views in a high­ly idiosyn­crat­ic ap­proach. Her sev­en fea­ture films, made be­tween 1972 and 1996, be­long to the most ex­traor­d­i­nary works of late 20th-cen­tu­ry film his­to­ry. In 2000, Yvonne Rain­er be­gan again to work as a chore­o­g­ra­pher. The pie­ces she quotes con­tain el­e­ments of pop­u­lar cul­ture, sports, and the his­to­ry of dance in gen­er­al. She al­so quotes her own works. The Mu­se­um Lud­wig owns ear­ly works of Yvonne Rain­er’s friends like Robert Rauschen­berg, John Cage, Claes Ol­d­en­burg, Bruce Nau­man, and Robert Mor­ris. Al­so within the last de­cade the mu­se­um be­gan to in­cor­po­rate works by Ti­no Se­h­gal, Ro­man On­dak, and Michele di Men­na in­to its col­lec­tion, artists whose work rep­re­sents per­for­mance-ori­ent­ed po­si­tions. There­fore, it is par­tic­u­lar­ly im­por­tant to the Mu­se­um Lud­wig to pre­sent the work of Yvonne Rain­er: Un­til now, this im­por­tant link be­tween the Amer­i­can avant-garde of the 1960s and the per­for­mance ten­den­cies of re­cent art has been un­der­rep­re­sent­ed. For the Cologne venue of the ex­hi­bi­tion, the artist Hei­mo Zobernig (born 1958) will cre­ate a spe­cial space con­stel­la­tion. In this pro­ject, he will jux­ta­pose his own work, “Un­tilt­ed”, to  Robert Rauschen­berg’s 1968 piece, en­ti­tled “Sound­ings.” The in­ter­ac­tion be­tween ex­hibits and ex­hi­bi­tion ar­chi­tec­ture re­acts to the is­sue of how dance and film can be joint­ly shown in an art mu­se­um.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is spon­sored by the Kul­turs­tif­tung des Bun­des and by the Kun­st­s­tif­tung NRW.


Cu­ra­tors of the ex­hi­bi­tion: Dr. Bar­bara En­gel­bach (Mu­se­um Lud­wig Köln), Yil­maz Dziewior (Kun­sthaus Bre­genz)