Grand Palais invite …. Carolyn Carlson in the exhibition Artists & Robots
Standing in front of the work of Nicolas Schöffer, CYSP1, she remembers...
I worked with Nicolas Schöffer in the production of KYLDEX at the Opera of Hamburg, Germany in 1973, in collaboration with Alwin Nikolais and Pierre Henry. At this time the innovations of Nicolas Schöffer were a revelation of discoveries for a machine that spoke for itself. Towering metal structures wheeling around the stage, emitting sound and light in the immensity of height and beauty. This was an ominous effect of the presence in the interplay of machine and man. My memories were indelibly marked as a dancer to explore this experience, so small in comparison, to challenge the same provocative sense of space and motion. I share the same principals as Schöffer, abstractions and poetry within creations to share our inventions of illuminating the imagination.
Have you danced with other artists?
I have had the privilege to work with other visual artists in my career. The memories of each artist remain unique. All merit their own particular visions. I remember the Anselm Kiefer event in 2007, at the Grand Palais for Monumenta. It was an evening that incorporated dance among his incredible steel structures. Another adventure was encountering one of our century's greatest masters of tableaus and objects rooted in poetry: Olivier Debré, with the collaboration on my ballet "Signes" at the Paris Opera Bastille in 1997. There were enormous painted tableaus, objects sailing across the stage: it was a challenge to meet his ideas as a visual artist – one who remains an instigator of my work as a choreographer – and an honor to engage within his visions. Then there's Alwin Nikolais in the 1960s with his psychedelic lights and unusually-shaped costumes, accompanied by electronic sounds which were a revolution at the time – he was known as the innovator of a new dance spectrum in New York. He was accused of dehumanizing the body. My beloved master was later recognized as a genius of innovative provocations.
What are your thoughts on and what did you most enjoy about Artists and Robots?
I found the work of Catherine Ikam and Louis Fleri incredible (they worked on the exhibition poster, inspired by the world of Philip K. Dick). Faces in virtual reality, very mysterious and very unstable; moving portraits, mysterious, but which ultimately disappear under the effect of dissolution into pixel dust. It is very beautiful. Robots will eventually be our contemporary "superman". I work with the human body and spirit, I leave the robots for those in the near future to explore the potential of communication of intelligence and supernatural capacities.
Always looking for the perfect movement: since the 1960s, Carolyn Carlson has worked on calligraphy and meditation. A very beautiful exhibition at the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi has just closed, but you can discover her work from June 7 to 14 at the Galerie du Jour Agnes.B (17 rue Dieu – 75010 Paris), with the calligraphy exhibition Brush mind no merit– le geste peint.