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    Mutable bodies: abstraction and modern dance in 1960s Argentina

    Polgovsky Ezcurra, Mara (2022) Mutable bodies: abstraction and modern dance in 1960s Argentina. Oxford Art Journal 45 (1), pp. 83-104. ISSN 0142-6540.

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    In this paper I argue that the development of modern dance in Argentina in the 1960s involved both the deconstruction of classical gesture and figuration and an arguably more-than-human abstraction and redeployment of the moving body. The little-researched corpus of choreographies by Argentine dancer and choreographer Ana Kamien is one of the most striking examples of this process. It embodies and performs the dissolution of antinomial oppositions between nature and culture, body and form, figuration and abstraction. In the 16mm film entitled ‘Ana Kamien’ (dir. Marcelo Epstein, 1970), considered to be the first work of video dance or film dance in the country, Kamien dances to a poem that evokes the affective and anatomical world of humans as a topography of mountains, ridges, and seas. Moreover, she progressively renounces both the human face and balletic form to become an increasingly abstracted biomorphic being. On the basis of archival documentation and first-hand accounts by Kamien, I situate her choreographic practice in dialogue with the work of other avant-garde dancers at the time, Pop variété performances at the Di Tella Institute in the 1960s, and the later development of system aesthetics in Argentina’s Centre for Art and Communication (CAYC). Furthermore, I analyse and interrogate Kamien’s description of her choreographic practice as being part of a collective attempt to abstract the female body, at a time when the women’s liberation movement was on the rise – only later to be heavily repressed by the military government of Gral. Juan Carlos Onganía (1966-1973). The seemingly paradoxical question of whether the dancing body can be abstracted leads me to propose an expanded conceptualization of abstraction in the visual and live arts, which takes into account both feminist and more-than-human embodied conceptions of abstraction.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication following peer review. The version of record is available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): modern dance, abstraction, Argentina, Ana Kamien, feminism, more-than-human
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra
    Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 14:09
    Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 00:10


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