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Biennale Danza 2023

Simone Forti

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Simone Forti

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Simone Forti.

As Wayne McGregor writes in his motivation for the award: “Simone Forti has compiled a body of work – from performance, drawing, film, video, photography, installation, and texts—that is astonishing in its range and singular in its vision. An innovator in multiple mediums and expert dance improviser, Simone Forti’s art has often combined elements of movement, sound, and objects into new and surprising hybrid articulations - work that has been as seminally influential in the development of post-modern dance as it has been revelatory to minimalism.
Self-defining as artist or movement artist rather than being bound to the conventions and orthodoxies of ‘choreographer’, Forti has moved freely and seamlessly between creative worlds, wildly mixing disciplines and in doing so, championed the primacy of body, or rather ‘thinking with the body’ as a force for experimentation, play and (re)invention.
Forti’s work has been collected in major museums and collections globally; her nature-based improvisatory dance techniques, first transmitted by Anna Halprin, are taught to eager students desperate to connect to their own essential dance power, a power that recognizably sits at the heart of Forti’s daring dancing; and the conceptual strength of Forti’s 60-year trajectory, its rigour of idea and simplicity of execution, its sly wit, its unending curiosity - all cementing Forti’s legacy as a true arts genius, constantly surprising the imagination and invigorating us - the public, to see again to reach back into the (Forti) past to move forward into the (Forti) future. A legacy unrivalled and how grateful are we”.

Biographical notes

Simone Forti (Florence, 1935) lives and works in Los Angeles, where she emigrated from Italy in 1938 to escape fascist, anti-Semitic persecution.  Her career as a dancer began in the second half of the 1950s when she took part in Anna Halprin’s “Dancers’ Workshop” in San Francisco, experimenting with a new working method based on improvisation, free from the codes of modern dance. In 1959, she moved to New York with then-husband Robert Morris, and studied with Robert Dunn who introduced her to the work of John Cage at the Merce Cunningham studio. In New York, she debuted as a choreographer in 1960 with two dances in the form of a happening - See-Saw and Rollers – and in 1961, Five Dance Constructions and Some Other Things, an evening at Yoko Ono’s loft. These Dance Constructions joined movement and structures for the first time, using everyday actions such as running, climbing, and standing in ropes. The Dance Constructions revolutionized concepts of dance and movement and was a strong influence on the members of Judson Dance Theater, including Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and Robert Morris. She also worked with artist Robert Whitman, performing in the happenings Flower (1960), American Moon (1960), and Prune Flat (1965). In 1968 she presented her minimalist multimedia pieces Face Tunes, Cloths, Songs, Bottom, Book, and Fallers. From 1968 to 1970, she lived in Rome, where she was invited to show her Dance Constructions at Galleria L’Attico by Fabio Sargentini, who also invited her to take part in the Festival Danza Volo Musica e Dinamite together with her American colleagues Trisha Brown, Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Terry Riley, and David Bradshaw. For many of them, it was their first European appearance. Also for Sargentini’s L’Attico, Simone Forti created Sleepwalkers, a performance inspired by animal movements she observed at the Rome Zoo.
Back in the United States, during the 1980’s and ‘90’s, Forti developed an improvisation practice based on the relationship between words and movement (now known as Logomotion), and her News Animations, speaking and moving on political themes. In the same years, she founded the group Simone Forti and Troupe, and worked with artist Nam June Paik. A total artist, during her career Simone Forti has dedicated herself to drawing, film and video, photography, installation art, and writing.
Her works and performances have been shown in the major museums of the world: MoMA, Gugghenheim, Whitney Museum, P.S.1 (New York); Hammer Museum, Getty Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art/MOCA (Los Angeles), San Francisco Museum of Art, Centre Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporaine (Paris), Carré d'art at Nîmes; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Kunsthaus (Zurich), MAMCO (Genève), Kunsthalle (Basle), Hayward Gallery (London), Castello di Rivoli (Turin), Centro Pecci (Prato), Fondazione ICA (Milan), Galleria L’Attico (Roma), Stedelijk (Amsterdam), and many others. A complete solo exhibition of the Italian-American artist’s work is on display at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles through April 2nd.

Biennale Danza
Biennale Danza