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Performance Ligia Lewis ‘deader than dead’, 20 + 21.05.2023 Mudam Luxembourg © Photo : Fabrizio Vatieri | Mudam Luxembourg
Ligia Lewis

Performance weekend

Ligia Lewis works as a choreographer, conceiving and directing experimental performances. Through choreography and embodied practice, she develops expressive concepts that give form to movements, thoughts, relations and the bodies that hold them. Lewis creates space(s) for the emergent and the indeterminate while tending to the mundane in her performances, which are held together by the logic of interdependence, disorder and play. In her work, sonic and visual metaphors meet the body, materialising the enigmatic, the poetic and the dissonant. Lewis’s work continually evokes the nuances of embodiment.

On the occasion of the Luxembourg Museum Days, Ligia Lewis will present a new iteration of her work deader than dead involving a Europe-based cast. Originally conceived in 2020 for the Hammer Museum, the creation of this piece began with an intrigue-based inquiry into deadpan, an impassive mannerism deployed in comedic fashion to illustrate emotional distance. Utilising this expression as a type of stasis, Lewis initially developed a choreography for ten dancers that remained expressively flat or dead, resisting any narrative or representational hold tied to a climactic build or progression.

Due to the outburst of the pandemic, Lewis reduced the cast to four performers transforming it into a more traditionally theatrical presentation. In this new work the dancers use Macbeth’s culminating soliloquy (‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,’ a reflection on repetition and meaninglessness) as the beginning of a work that unfolds in modular parts, each one an illustration or parody of death, stasis and the void, each one tied to its own carefully selected soundtrack or sample. The work is full of play but is also a meditation on ‘playing,’ or acting, as well as on tragedy’s recurring cycles and familiarity within Black and brown experience; on time, as it loops; on performance; on touch, as an act of both care and violence. The work is built in the form of a musical lament, a protracted complaint on loop performed ad infinitum, decomposing itself along the way.


Ligia Lewis, ‘deader than dead’ at Mudam

Ligia Lewis (b. 1983, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) works as a choreographer and dancer. Her work was presented in multiple venues across Europe and the United States such as Tanzquartier, Vienna (2022); HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2018, 2021); MCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2020); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2021); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2020); Kaaitheater, Brussels (2019); Arsenic, Lausanne (2019); High Line Art, New York (2019); Performance Space, New York (2019); OGR Torino (2018); Stedelijk, Amsterdam (2017); Tate Modern, London; (2017). Her work has also been presented at festivals and biennials such as the Ruhrtriennale, Bochum, Germany (2022); Tanzplattform, Germany (2022); Politik im Freien Theater Festival, Frankfurt (2022); Liverpool Biennial (2021); Side Step Festival, Helsinki (2018); Biennale of Moving Images/Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2018); Diver Festival, Tel Aviv (2018); American Realness, New York (2017); The Donaufestival, Krems, Austria (2017) and Julidans, Amsterdam (2017). She is the recipient of the Tabori Award in the category of Distinction, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants Award, and a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production.