November 23, 2012–February 24, 2013 | TBA21–Augarten, Vienna

Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol, TBA21, Vienna 2012
Photo: Jens Ziehe | TBA21

Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol is the second exhibition at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary–Augarten. The new work by the Californian artist Sharon Lockhart (*1964) consists of a complex installation of videos, photographs, and archival material, composing a subtle and sensuous portrait of the Israeli choreographer, dancer, researcher and textile artist Noa Eshkol (1924–2007). 

Sharon Lockhart came across the archive of Noa Eshkol in Holon in 2008 during a trip to Israel. She consequently developed the video works and photographs that constitute this complex work drawing on her intensive research of this until now little known chapter of dance history and in close collaboration with Eshkol’s pupils, who continue their daily dance practice until today. 

The videos show the slow dance movements of the members of the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group performing five dances written by Eshkol: Duet, Fugue, Landler, Walking and War Dance. These are presented together with photographs of spheres visualizing the revolutionary dance notation system devised by Eshkol in collaboration with the architect Avraham Wachman (1931–2010): Models of Orbits in the System of Reference, Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation System. A selection of Eshkol’s wall carpets is shown in close encounter with the videos, shedding light on a part of Eshkol’s communal practice that has so far been rarely seen in connection with the revolutionary notation system and dance training.

Sharon Lockhart’s film installation Five Dances and Nine Wall Carpets by Noa Eshkol (2011) features selections from Eshkol’s dance suite Theme and Variations, each performed by a group of between two and five dancers. Each dance composition is staged among different groupings of Eshkol's wall carpets. During her research in Holon, Lockhart chose carpets based on shapes that complement each dance and mounted them on rectangular volumes similar to those onto which the five channels of the film are projected, arranging the volumes within each performance space. Through the variations of composition in each frame, Lockhart highlights the relationship between the dance and the textile work, drawing connections between Eshkol’s two practices and to the unexpected continuity between the different media.

In Five Dances and Nine Wall Carpets by Noa Eshkol, the dancers perform to the ticking of a metronome. The soundtrack, which Lockhart developed with composer Becky Allen, is itself a sound composition, a score consisting of the beat of the metronome and the ambient sound of the dancers’ movements. Arranged in a unique constellation that relates to the site and architecture of the Augarten, the five projection volumes set up a dynamic spatial intervention that engages with the viewers’ own patterns of movement through the exhibition space.

The single-channel film installation Four Exercises in Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation (2011) features one of Noa Eshkol’s longtime students, performing four different exercises of the Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation system (EWMN). In a sequence of four fixed shots, the film shows the impeccably trained dancer in a demanding solo performance involving complex movement sequences that follow strict compositional laws.

Sharon Lockhart’s series of twenty-two photographs titled Models of Orbits in the System of Reference, Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation System document a spherical model of study and visualization of the Eshkol-Wachman notation system, first published in 1958. Created as pedagogical tools, the spherical orbits represent parts of the limbs in relation to the body as a whole and in turn describe rotary, plane, and curved surface movements at different stages. Here each sphere describes a set of possible movements for any limb, with the center representing the joint around which the limb moves and the outside representing the extremity of the limb (a finger, a toe, or the top of the head).

By placing the spheres in front of a harmonious gray background, Lockhart uses the language of the photographic still life but also the notion of stop motion. The spheres were suspended from above and photographed at different points in their rotation along the vertical axis that map each progressive moment, revealing a dynamic and morphing form that changes as much as a moving body would in relation to a viewer.

Noa Eshkol’s wall carpets represent a lesser-known aspect of her practice. She made carpets from collected scrap fabric only and never used scissors to modify the pieces from the form in which she found them. The pieces of fabric were sent by kibbutzim around the country or collected at local garment factories by Eshkol’s dancers. In addition to these still and moving images of the dancers and the notation system, as well as carpets by Noa Eshkol, archival material, excerpts from the diaries of the daily rehearsal practice of Eshkol’s Chamber Dance Group, notes and research regarding the implementation of the notation system EWMN within such diverse fields as biology, psychology, mathematics, information technology and cybernetics are presented at the Augarten.
November 23, 2012–February 24, 2013
TBA21–Augarten, Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Curated by
Daniela Zyman
Supported by
Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein

Initial support for the project was provided by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles's Tel Aviv — Los Angeles Partnership; and The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Los Angeles. Five Dances and Nine Wall Carpets by Noa Eshkol, 2011, was presented with the support of The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation for the exhibition Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol, co-organized by The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Four Exercises in Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation, 2011, was produced for a companion exhibition of the same title organized by the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, with the support of Outset Contemporary Art Fund, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Ostrovsky Family Fund, and Art Partners.
Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol
Edited by Daniela Zyman and Eva Wilson
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary 

With essays by Walead Beshty, Ramsay Burt, Ifat Finkelman, Martina Leeker, Steve Paxton, Howard Singerman, Noémie Solomon, Eva Wilson, Daniela Zyman and texts from the Noa Eshkol Foundation.

178 pages, English
Graphic design: Sara Hartman, John McCusker
Sternberg Press

ISBN 978-3-943365-55-9
Preis: €35.00