Release of 05.07.2021
Today at 20h00 and at 21h00, at the Museo Nacional Thyssen Bornemisza, in Madrid, “The Day that Wood and Matter Wanted to Become Salt Water”, a performance by Claudia Comte, with movement by artist and dancer Cecilia Bengolea, and music by Egon Elliut.
Set against the backdrop of Swiss artist Claudia Comte’s three-year in the making solo exhibition “After Nature”, curated by Chus Martínez, Comte proposes a performance that empathetically activates her work on the understanding of the life cycles of corals, and their preservation. Joined by artist and dancer Cecilia Bengolea, and accompanied by an original score by Egon Elliut, the exhibition and its space are brought to life in a way only performances in real life can realize.
The practice of imitation is an ancient one. If you move like a wave you may become one, if you pose like a coral, you may become one, if you act like a fish you may become one… Mimesis is the language of becoming and the space for alterity. When else could you understand best what it is to be or not to be the Ocean then the very moment you act like it? Claudia Comte’s performance is both mimicking her own sculptural practice and the depictions of marine animals inhabiting the exhibition. The movements created by Cecilia Bengolea, dancer and artist, absorb the forms of life of the waters to render them even more present and to influence our bodies so that we may as well follow her in this exercise. Additionally, Comte’s recreation of the reef will be activated by an original score of Egon Elliut. All three are there to interpret for us the movements of the Ocean, to situate us in a dynamic relation with the corals, the light, the senses of the animals and plants that constitute the universe of this work at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Claudia Comte (b. 1983) is a Swiss artist based in Basel. Her work centres on the memory of materials and a careful observation of how the hand relates to different technologies.
Comte, who is best known for her site-specific installations, studied at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, ECAL, and obtained a Masters of Art in Science of Education at Haute Ecole Pédagogique, Visual Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland. Her practice is guided by a distinct system of her own creation, wherein each artwork specifically relates to another. Comte's minimalist approach to art making is equal parts methodical and dynamic. Ranging from sculpture to painting, to multimedia installation, her works are infused with a distinct sense of playfulness.
Carving by hand, or scanning, or 3D printing are all functions of a knowledge that sculpture possesses and shares every time a new piece comes to life. What we need to learn is how to see —in every pattern, and, object— an environment, oxygen, the way the conditions of our planet modify the materials.
Comte’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions, including How to Grow and Still Stay the Same Shape, Castello di Rivoli (2019), Fruits and Jungle, König Galerie, London (2019), I have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees, Copenhagen Contemporary (2019), The Morphing Scallops, Gladstone Gallery, 24th St, New York City (2019), Zigzags and Diagonals, MOCA Cleveland (2018), Swiss Performance Now, Kunsthalle Basel (2018), KölnSkulpture #9, Köln (2017), La Ligne Claire, Basement Roma (2017), NOW I WON, Messeplatz, Art Basel (2017), 10 Rooms, 40 Walls, 1059 m2, Kunstmuseum Luzern (2017), DesertX, Palm Springs, The Language of Things, with the Public Art Fund, New York (2016), NO MELON NO LEMON, Gladstone Gallery, New York (2015), Easy Heavy III, Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2014), Sharp Sharp at David Dale Gallery, Glasgow (2014), and Elevation 1049, Gstaad (2013).
Cecilia Bengolea, born in Argentina in 1979, Bengolea works on a range of media including performance, video, and sculpture. Using dance as a tool and a medium for radical empathy and emotional exchange, Bengolea develops a broad artistry where she sees movement, dance, and performance as animated sculpture, where she herself is both object and subject in her own work.
Bengolea has collaborated with dancehall artists such as Craig Black Eagle, Bombom DHQ, Damion BG, and with artists Dominique Gonzalez Forster and Jeremy Deller. Her collaborative work with French choreographer François Chaignaud, Pâquerette (2005-2008) and Sylphides (2009), have earned several awards such as the Award de la Critique de Paris in 2010 and the Young Artist Prize at the Gwangju Biennial in 2014. They have also co-created dance pieces for their dance company as well as for the Ballet de Lyon (2013), the Ballet de Lorraine (2014), and Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal.
Bengolea's work has been shown at the Gwangju Biennial (2014), Biennale de Lyon (2015), The Tanks and Tate Modern (2015), ICA, London (2015), Biennale de São Paulo (2016), The Infinite Mix, Hayward Gallery London (2016), Center Pompidou (2010,2016, 2019), Elevation 1049, Gstaad (2017), Dia Art Foundation (2017), Palais de Tokyo (2015 and 2018), ICA London (2015), Dhaka Art Summit (2018), TBA21, in Venice (2018), Desertx (2019), Sferik Tulum (2019), Performa NY (2019) and Fondation Giacometti (2019), Tank Shanghai (2020), Biennale de Gwangju (2021) Guggenheim Bilbao(2021), Belgrade Biennale (2021).
Egon Elliut is the project of Austrian-born multi-genre recording artist and composer Egon Thuile.
His music is an experiment fueled by his curiosity in collective human behavior and gaming culture. Egon has collaborated with Claudia Comte on multiple productions since 2013. Raised in both Kenya and Guatemala, he now resides in Berlin.