In Dancing Museums – The Democracy of Beings, Ana Pi questions the notions of inclusion and decolonisation of bodies in the contemporary choreographic landscape. Her practice is situated among concepts of intimacy, transit, displacement, belonging, overlapping, memory, colours and ordinary gestures.

Dancing Museums is an opportunity to experience the body inside the museum. Provoking movement within this institution (which is known for its silence and moderate demeanour), dance offers the possibility of experiencing new, more radical sensations. “I think of the museum as a place dedicated to the preservation of memory. What gestures do we want to keep? What new gestures do we want to create? What experience of the body do we want to project for the future within the museum?” – Ana Pi

In her time at the MAC VAL, Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Ana Pi has created an experience-based proposal entitled èscultura. In light of these recent times that impose more and more rigidity in the collective imagination, Ana invites us to reflect together and to actively summon the movement. This proposal is animated by the desire to make the gesture of touching the other delicate. Then, to close her residency she made PRESENT, a non-linear performative path. It was a long action of displacement where the gesture of receiving was as important as the gesture of giving, a set of affirmative steps where, according to Ana Pi: “the act of giving back is the only path to the inevitable healing in our time“. 

During the festive day of PIC NIC at MAC VAL, Ana Pi offered visitors the remains of an action she carried out in the museum, which questioned the movement of the statues: ÈSCULTURA then returned in the form of a collection of gestures created digitally, interactively, but absolutely tangible and “presential”. Find below a resume and some pictures of those processes.

Also, during Ana Pi’s residency at the MAC VAL, she has invited a group of amateurs to document her practice during an online workshop called Re-Play. This has allowed the participants to experience Ana’s proposal in an intimate manner and at the same time keep a physical trace of her work. The group’s creations and documentation can be found in the Journal.

Ana Pi’s residency dates at the MAC VAL:

2019 > 19-21 March, 27-29 March, 27-30 August, 24-27 September

2020 > 21-27 September, 12-16 October, 20-25 October

2021 > 23-28 February, 6-18 April, 24-30 June, 1-4 July

In light of these times that impose more and more rigidity in the collective imagination and restrictions in affection, I invite you to reflect with me and to actively convene the movement. Provisionally called “èscultura”, this material test is a step in the creation of a work that is at once choreographic, plastic and interactive. This creation is driven by the desire to make delicate the gesture of touching the other and to allow oneself to radically imagine the act of being in relationship.

Ana Pi

To realize “èscultura” it was necessary to begin by creating the device in the space of the vestibule of the museum. Throughout the weeks of residency, the device took shape: the pedestals gained a green color; the golden survival covers replaced the tarpaulin and, no more colored clay.

To activate the device, Ana Pi chose a festive music and placed herself on the middle base to become a statue! In spite of the strong vibration of the sound, she remained unmovable, only another person could make her move…. 

Can you imagine how?

When a person touched the clay posed on the base, Ana Pi began to move. Little by little, the modeling movements gave rise to a dialogue, an improvised dance for two.

Each person manipulated the clay in a different way, so the sculptures were always taking on different forms…

…. as well as the dances of Ana Pi! She interpreted the movements of the modeling with her body, the composition of the choreography was done with several hands, in real time.

Once the person had finished her sculpture, she needed to approach the device to place it on the golden blanket. The sculpture was like an offering, this gesture closed the dance, and then Ana Pi became a statue again.

After experiencing “èscultura”, the public was invited to talk with the artist about their experience.

As “èscultura” was a step in her research process, Ana Pi noted in her notebook the words and feedback of people to feed the development of her creation

At the end of the residency in October 2020, the gold blanket was filled with small sculptures. Ana Pi heaved a collection of objects and gestures.

In July 2021, at the event PIC NIC, the collection of “èscultura” gave rise to a final stage of its residency: “PRESENT”.

Wrapped in a small bag of fine fabric and accompanied by a different note each time, the sculptures became gifts.

To each person who passed by her, a double gift was offered: a small sculpture…

..And a dance, the restitution of the objects and the gestures crossed by its body was accomplished.

Photos: Iris Medeiros