When Bodies & Language & Landscape are one

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An interview with Millie Kapp, an artist I’ve long admired, just went live on Art21’s blog. I have included an excerpt below:

I am always amazed by the effect of performance, particularly the ways in which a single, cohesive piece (often comprised of abstract, sequential movements) emerges from a group. It’s a little like watching a magic trick—seeing a woman cut in half with a saw without understanding how the illusion of her bisection is possible. Millie Kapp creates similar illusionary spaces—spaces of theater and spectacle in which words are inessential; the body is the text— a vehicle for expression—and auxiliary props become equal bodies. Recently she has been working with a collaborative group called Husband. In the following interview we talk about the process of building a performance, the way she interacts with material and the group she works with.

Caroline Picard: How did your collaborative performance group start?

Millie Kapp: In February of 2012, Annie Maurer, Matt Shalzi, and Noah Furman and I began our fourth piece together. At this time we decided to make the parameters and commitment of our group official with a name. After months of snowballing free associations, we decided on the name Husband. We named ourselves after a prop we’d used in 2011, a husband pillow, that played a particularly integral part in the performance, The palm poises as a plant does and slips into the evening of the day. Through play-based experimentation, the husband pillow shifted meaning and took on layered significances as it performed as body, face, machine, and mirror [over the course of the performance]. These kinds of shifts and layers are things we try to do with most of our movement, text, and objects.

Husband, "A Face on the Doorway." Still from performance, DanceBridge Showcase, 2011. Photo by John Sisson.The first work that we did together was in 2010 entitled, Waiting for tonight: Waiting for tonight. This piece was performed at Sullivan Galleries. We subsequently made The palm poises as a plant does and slips into the evening of the day and performed this work at the Archer Ballroom, Links Hall, Roxaboxen Exhibitions, and the 9×22 Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, MN. In fall 2011 we made A Face in the Doorway, and showed this work at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center in New York. Recently, we showed The hidden woods in the conversation at Alderman Exhibitions.  It was not until recently however, that Husband became an official collective. We needed to work together for a few years before such a commitment!

CP: Can you talk a little about how you build up a piece? Where do you begin, and how it comes together? (to read more of this interview go here).

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