graz-austria

Gernot Wieland, Thievery and Songs, 2016, video, color, sound, 25 minutes. From “Body Luggage: Migration of Gestures.”

“Body Luggage”

Kunsthaus Graz

Gernot Wieland, Thievery and Songs, 2016, video, color, sound, 25 minutes. From “Body Luggage: Migration of Gestures.”

Anyone annoyed by Ai Weiwei’s photographic impression of a drowned Syrian child refugee could find tremendous hope in “Body Luggage: Migration of Gestures,” mounted as part of the Steirischer Herbst, an annual festival of dance, theater, art, and music in Graz. Here, art-historical tropes of continuity and mutation propagated by Alois Riegl and Aby Warburg politicized an international gathering of migration-themed, performance-centric commissions, which deftly invited one to rethink classical notions of innovation and originality. Indeed, many of the works explored ways in which artists and art practices survive displacement by becoming mobile containers of a kind—just as dispossessed migrants retain their body language even in new, unstable surroundings. The show included several pieces alluding to Ausdruckstanz, Germany and Austria’s Expressionist dance scene of the 1920s,

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2017 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.