Myriam Gourfink does not need large presentations, the explorer of contemporary dance who, for over fifteen years, has been portraying the inner life and the need to create instant “situations” supported by breathing, by notation software, by the slowness of movement, by comparison, by music and meditative practices.

She comes from a classical background and from the tip tap scene, she was the one rolling on the floor on cigarettes and beer cans in the industrial music shows back in the eighties. She was illuminated by the work of Odile Dudoc, a lady who does not wave before the public and has no reticence towards the use of technology applied to art dance.

Figurehead of the choreographic research in France, since her first solo in 1996, Beith, Myriam Gourfink offers the viewer abstract ideas and representations, where almost-motionless horizontal gestures, micro-movements related to the relationship with the surrounding space and the no-position of the body are a dominant and recurring letimotiv,  also today. In reviewing her works, from Too Generate to Rare, from Contraindre to Corbeau up to Bestiole and Una lente mastication – the latter two presented this year at the Grande Salle at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and at Gennevilliers Theater/T2G – is visible her will of going beyond the limits, all the endless multi-dimensional and multi-directional research, all her ardor that comes from thoughts and meticulous works, then given to the viewer who gets in touch with an experience of perceptual state.

To achieve these expedients and these results, the artist takes ideas and materials from her daily life, from the routine that the day systematically offers her. And, also, from her body, where every muscle and every cell is filled with intensity thanks to the morning Tibetan yoga exercises, thanks to breathing excercises, sensory capacity, and thanks to the concentration she puts into the creation of geometric shapes.

Figures that come not only, but mainly, from the relationship between the composition and the production of sound, where Myriam, studying Laban notation, managed to organize it, obtaining the best results by using the dance software LOL – designed together with Frédéric Voisin, Laurence Marthouret and Kaspar T. Toeplitz – used for the first time for Taire, in Lucca, in 1999. This is an application which takes into account another fundamental element for the choreographer: space.

I define her dance as anatomic energy, where the anthroposcenic body combines with the performative action field and with the music, composed specifically, becoming first fluid then mechanical, video-shaped then musicologic, carefully nurtured and perfected day by day. It slips, moves and gets up, liaising with the ground, with the base of the Cosmos, with her flesh, with wires and plasma screens, where (now more than ever) the head has value in function of what Fechner calls the “first of the arts”. The French artist creates shared spaces, human parallelisms, contact of taste and animal impulses.

On the scene seem to echo and somehow transfigure human sculptures and video installations similar to Robert Morris and Alexander Calder, Fabrizio Plessi and Studio Azzurro. There is a reference to the patrols between body and machine reminding of  Marcel Antunez Roca and Stelarc, of the positions of Shaolin, of kinesics technique used by jesters in the Middle Ages to make acrobatic contortions.

Not forgetting connections with the artistic expressions of Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, François Delsarte and with Martha Graham, arriving also to Merce Cunningham. This latter pertinent especially in the exploration of the relationship between body and space , and for the use of the latest technology forms. Passing finally through the techniques of Kazuo Ohno, Pina Bausch and Carolyn Carlson.

Her production – as for those of Boris Charmatz, Teatro Deluxe, Xavier Le Roy, Morgan Nardi, Meg Stuart, Michele Di Stefano, Eszter Salamon, Alessandra Sini, Chiara Alborino/Fabrizio Varriale, Francesca Proia or Jérôme Bel (just to mention a couple of names) – comes from the need of multidisciplinary in arts or enchroachment in other liminal areas for a horizontal arbitrariness, always coming to a personal vision, research and controlled structuring.

This production is included in that path, or rather in that “art movement”, which I have renamed Performing Dance (thorougly studied in this period, especially for today’s contemporary Italian productions), which incorporates the performing arts, the various styles and the different forms of dance, without exception, closures and limits of space, time, environment, techniques, formats and meanings. A relationship, rather than a connection between innate and innovative aspects, that the various branches of performing arts have stored and developed over the years and with the new choral trends, always more linked to the entirety of other languages.

In a world that moves quickly, its hypnotic dance invites us to reflect on new alphabetic, psychological, neurological, anthropological and technological devices, without ever degrading its organic and natural process, so consequently even  the viewer’s empathy, who lives the whole of Myriam Gourfink‘s way of thinking in all of her performances.

Images courtesy Myriam Gourfink