Historical Dances in an Antique Setting
Tate Britain unveils Historical Dances in an Antique Setting, featuring a continuous live performance by three dancers.
This is the most ambitious project to date from internationally renowned artist Pablo Bronstein. The work has been created for the annual Tate Britain Commission, supported by Sotheby’s, which invites artists to create a new large-scale work in response to the neo-classical Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain.
Visitors will be confronted with two large scale architectural structures spanning the width of the Duveens. Each is overlaid with visually manipulated images taken from Tate Britain’s exterior architecture, visually turning the gallery inside out. At its centre three classically trained dancers continually weave up and down the gallery, blending gestures and movements of Baroque choreography with the minimalist style of contemporary dance.
Historical Dances in an Antique Setting is inspired by Bronstein’s interest in history and the potential inaccuracies that occur when the past is re-created – particularly pertinent in the Duveen Galleries, whose style re-interprets that of classical architecture. The performance takes inspiration from the Italian concept of sprezzatura – a long standing interest of the artist – with the dancers striking elegant and refined poses while traversing the galleries.
Born in Argentina in 1977, Pablo Bronstein is known for humorous, erudite and beautifully executed drawings, structures and performances that reflect his fascination with the aesthetic and social attributes of pre-Modern European design and architecture. In his work, invented or fictionalised 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings and interiors become characters in an elaborate, irreverent comedy of manners. Playing with anachronism, Bronstein’s displaced architectural re-visitations are less concerned with cultural heritage than with probing the continuing role of aesthetic taste as a marker of status in our own times.
Pablo Bronstein said: “Grand architecture is one of the things I’m most interested in, so it was a rare opportunity to be able to create work in such a unique setting as the Duveen Galleries. The commission also presented a perfect and challenging opportunity to work with performance on a large scale.”
Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said: “Pablo Bronstein’s work consistently makes for deliciously jarring encounters between past and present, and between art and society. It’s fantastic to see his work come to life in the aesthetic and institutional grandeur of Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries.”
Oliver Barker, Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe, said: “With each commission, the transformation of Tate’s historic Duveen Galleries surprises and enthralls audiences for what has become an unmissable event in the art world calendar. The installation and performances created by Pablo Bronstein for this famous space stand as another great chapter in this tradition. Now in its eighth year, we are immensely proud to continue our long-standing support for the commission.”