The exhibition And Mistake These Walls for Skin
explores the ways contemporary artists approach dance as a communal form of movement and a ritual practice. The title of the exhibition, taken from a poem by the Vietnamese-American author and poet Ocean Vuong, refers to the paradox of presenting a dynamic genre such as dance within the walls of an exhibition space in the form of an essentially static exhibition, while remaining faithful to its identity. This can best be achieved through motion picture, which makes video and film the primary medium of the exhibition.
Some of the works at the exhibition present and reinterpret ritual dances from outside Europe that are still actively performed today. These can be related to everyday life or such events of particular importance in the life of a community that are collectively dealt with through dance. It is with an anthropologist's sensitivity that the artists document the rituals of these communities, which go back several decades and are still active today. Through video works of different aesthetics, they inquire how the concept and practice of rituals has changed over the centuries, what their role might be today and what the relationship is between dance and ritual practices.
The interconnection of different traditions and cultures as well as contemporary associations related to ritual forms of movement are emphasised in several works, as is the question: to what extent can the liberating power of dance offer a way out of the crisis of our times? Through dance, the works echo such conditions as the liberation of the body, stepping out of ourselves, the state of complete abandon and trance, while awareness and concentrated experience of the body is a similarly central theme. At the same time, the dances and other forms of movement associated with different rituals are never seen as self-contained: the works also foreground current social and economic processes, whether it is a community's main source of income, fishing or the burnout and escapism of young adults today.