Performa Commissions New Work by Robin Rhode and Francesco Vezzoli for Biennial



Eddie Peake’s 2013 performance “Endymion” for Performa 2013.
Photo: Elise Gallant via Purple Diary.

A greatly anticipated moment has arrived: Performa has announced new commissions for the 2015 biennial.

Presenting new performance-based pieces in New York during the month of November are South African artist Robin Rhode, French artist Pauline Curnier Jardin, French dancer and choreographer Jerome Bel, Danish artist Jesper Just, and Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli.

Vezzoli created quite the art world moment at the 2007 Performa biennial when he staged a reading of Pirandello’s 1917 play Right You Are (If You Think You Are) for a crowd of 800 people, which included a star-filled stage and audience with Mary-Kate Olsen, Uma Thurman, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, and Anita Ekberg vying for seats (Linda Yablonsky dubbed the event a “Pirandellian nightmare“). He also collaborated with Lady Gaga and the Bolshoi Ballet in 2009. This time around, Vezzoli will collaborate with David Hallberg, the principle dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theater, on a work that will surely create another buzzy moment.

Jerome Bel choreographed a performance piece, that will run in three separate spaces: a theater, a dance studio, and a gallery in New York. Bel will recruit 15 performers of various ages and backgrounds for his piece. This will be the artist’s first performance designed for a white cube gallery space.

Robin Rhode will reinterpret Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung (Expectation), a 1909 opera about love and loss. Rhode’s reimagined opera, Erwartung: A Street Opera, will take the shape of a performance in Times Square featuring French opera singer Carole Sidney Louis. For the specific piece, Rhode will build a sparse set made out of reclaimed doors from South Africa.

New York-based Jesper Just will create an installation and live performance piece which will feature several female characters interacting with his urban space. The artist’s work often grapples with cinema, love, and sexuality.

Artist Pauline Curnier Jardin will create The Revivification House—a week-long immersive theatrical event that will pay homage to 16th century pagaentries. Jardin’s oeuvre often deals with the role of females in mythology and folklore.

Performa 15 will be held in New York City from November 1st through 22nd.

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