Curated > "Contact Improvisation"

Contact Improvisation

Alice Clements
Sandy de Lissovoy
Lauralee Pope

October 7 – November 4, 2017
SAC Arts Gallery at the Santora Building
207 N. Broadway, Suite Q
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Contact Improvisation refers to a contemporary style of dance in which individuals improvise in physical contact with each other. I find it slightly uncomfortable and ridiculous to watch because of the many awkward dynamics that come into play when two or more individuals try to join together without any previous agreement about what they are trying to create, what the boundaries are of the physical contact, and often without enough rehearsal time to get to know each other and figure out how to blend their styles and trust each other. As with musical improvisation, getting group improvisation to work is not an easy task.

The three artists in this show are dancing in a sort of contact improvisation with their materials. They have chosen to work with materials and methods that are like beloved but stubborn animals they are trying to train. There are clunky moments of failure or non-blending that are allowed to remain in the finished pieces. The element of contingency is highlighted not only in the making of these artists’ work, but also in their installation.

Lingering between two and three dimensions, Sandy de Lissovoy’s Folds are suspended by hanging, precariously balanced on strings attached to the wall. The elaborate folding and printing on these works seems to invite picking them up and playing with them. They suggest the engagement of the body, though not literally inviting it.

The quirky positioning of de Lissovoy’s aluminum plates and folded paper is echoed in Lauralee Pope’s playfully manipulated and arranged paintings. Tight Spot makes use of the quirks of the exhibition space, concealed in such a way that a viewer only finds it by chance, luck, or thorough inventory of the space. Pope’s work too is at times “see through,” her paintings punctured with holes. The installation of her work has precarious elements, as de Lissovoy’s, the top panel of Tight Spot perched provisionally above the gallery wall.

Alice Clements uses the architecture as a support for her sculptures, hanging them, resting them, and attaching them to the walls and floor of the exhibition space. Like de Lissovoy’s folded paper works, Telephone hangs from the architecture of the gallery and appears ready for use. Impediment stands as a partially transparent screen, behind which another sculpture is slightly visible. Her concrete telephones render a not very effective means of communication even less effective, reformulated with a heavy and dull material that could be used to drown someone or used as a weapon. Echoing the sentiments of Pope’s titles, Clements’ works address a political landscape in which communication is not working well, messages are not being fully transmitted.