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Asparagus: a horticultural ballet

Kollectiv, G. and Kollectiv, P. (2007) Asparagus: a horticultural ballet. [Project]

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Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet was a live performance and film narrating the rise of capital in the medium of asparagus. The project stemmed from an obscure reference to an art piece of the same name by Waw Pierogi of the band xex. However, the its re-enactment had little to do with the original exploration of the growth and branching patterns of the asparagus plant. Instead, a rigid choreography inspired by Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet and based on Karl Marx's Capital dictated the movements of six performers in asparagus costumes. Bringing together the organic and the geometric, the ballet investigated the transition from the Fordist assembly line to immaterial labour through a reanimation of modernist abstraction. Being itself the story of abstraction, Capital shows how human relationships are replaced by those between commodities in the joyless grind of endless accumulation. This process results in the transcendent mythical figure of capital, which frames, transfigures and even produces the natural world. Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet was produced in collaboration with Montreal based band Les Georges Leningrad and commissioned by The Showroom Gallery, London. It was presented live at Conway Hall in London on 6.3.07 and at the Montreal Biennale at SAT on 12.5.07. The performance was accompanied by a film at the Showroom gallery and preceded by a production residency at the Pump House Gallery. The film has subsequently been shown at The Golden Thread Gallery, Bluecoat Liverpool and as part of A-Lot-Ment in Portsmouth. Props from Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet, were included in The Eagle Document at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, London.

Item Type:Project
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art > Fine Art
ID Code:25881
Uncontrolled Keywords:asparagus, "horticultural ballet", "Les Georges Leningrad", "Pil and Galia Kollectiv", "Conway Hall", Showroom
Publisher:The Showroom Gallery
Publisher Statement:The Showroom presented the first solo show in London by the collaborative partnership Pil and Galia Kollectiv. The Kollectivs work across a number of disciplines, but their primary medium is film and video. For The Showroom, they presented a gallery-based exhibition launched by a special one-off performance of Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet at Conway Hall, featuring live music by the acclaimed Les Georges Leningrad from Montréal. Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet is a live performance piece inspired by rumour and myth. In the late 1970s, while still a student, Waw Pierogi, later of an obscure New Jersey minimal synth band xex, composed the interdisciplinary Asparagus: A Horticultural Ballet. No documentation of the piece exists, but Pil and Galia Kollectiv had become fascinated by this work, alongside another lost work, Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet. The Kollectivs' desire was not to recreate either, but rather they were intrigued by the possibilities of making a new work through the collision of ideas left behind by former art movements and other cultural phenomena. For them unrealised, forgotten and failed revolutions were as much a legacy of modernism as the utopian belief in progress that we have inherited. Originally from Jerusalem, Israel, Pil and Galia Kollectiv moved to London to study on the Goldsmiths MA course. The couple work collaboratively as artists, writers, independent curators and lecturers: in London they have curated and been involved in a number of group projects including Modern Lovers at Three Colts Gallery, Turn to the Left at 291 Gallery and Diamonds for Workers at Kate MacGarry. Les Georges Leningrad are Montréal's preeminent art-punks, blending dub, disco, post-punk and no-wave to create an aesthetic form that demolishes the lines between music presentation and promotion. Conway Hall is a landmark of London's independent intellectual, political and cultural life. It is home to the Ethical Society, where it fosters freedom in moral and spiritual life and thought.

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