I know we keep banging on about it, but we are part of HOME in Manchester. Heard of them? It means that we’re not just a stand alone art book distributor, but that we also have a big visual arts gallery, bars, event spaces, a restaurant, two theatres and 5 cinema screens. Aren’t we the lucky ones? Yes, we think so.
HOME Theatre recently announced their 2018 Autumn Winter season and so we thought we’d take the chance to highlight it here, just in case you fancied coming along to see a show. You can download the full theatre brochure here. There are lots of exciting new performances as well as familiar favourites to choose from.
To celebrate this theatre and performance theme we’ve also pulled out some lovely books from our list that you may wish to delve further into…
For example, Rhythm and Colour is a well-researched book on three avant-garde dancers Hélène Vanel (1898–1989), Loïs Hutton (1893–1972), and Margaret Morris (1891–1980). By using newly found letters, photos and memoirs the highly regarded author Richard Emerson examines their very interesting lives. Vanel’s dances which opened the 1938 International Surrealist’s exhibition in Paris, are now thought to be the very start of Performance Art.
Spacescapes, Dance and Drawing by Sarah Burkhalter and Laurence Schmidlin also concentrates on dance, but this time investigates the link between dance and drawing. It is published after the 2012 symposium held at Geneva University, I Love Thinking on my Feet: Dance and Drawing Since 1962.
A controversial theatrical presentation of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps by Ballet Russes in 1913 is the inspirational subject of Sacre 101: An Anthology on the Rite of Spring. The music and choreography in this version of the dance are considered revolutionary and groundbreaking, and as a result it is still one of the most choreographed ballets today. Visual artists have also been hooked in and so here the book investigates the close interplay between dance and visual art.
Turning to a different form of performance altogether, the re-enactment, is Jeremy Deller’s DVD of The Battle of Orgreave. Using one of the very violent clashes between workers and police of the mid-1980s miners’ strikes as inspiration, the actual battle is re-enacted, filmed by Mike Figgis. The DVD also includes archive footage and interviews.
Nolde in Berlin: Dance Theatre Cabaret reflects how important and how much of an inspiration the city of Berlin was for painter Emil Nolde. It includes the paintings he did of the Berlin nightlife he experienced, and also the intense depictions of his visits to the theatre and ‘the dance’. Accompanying texts show how influential this artist’s visits to the Deutsches Theatre really were to his oeuvre, especially the performances of the Expressionist dancers that he and his wife experienced there.
What can we learn from conversation? In Artists Talking: Performance Art: Burden, Fraser, Gilbert & George, McCarthy, Tiravanjia DVD five exceptional artists talk about their work, discussing not only performance but subjects such as tv, relationships, museums and sculpture. This series of DVDs comes from a long term conversation project that was started by Peter Kogler in 1992. So far there have been over 100 recorded conversations. See this link to the other DVDs from the same series.
Horoshi Sugimoto: Glass Tea House ‘Mondrian’ is a documentation of Sugimoto’s first architectural work in Europe: The Tea House – a pavilion built on stilts and rocks and surrounded by water. Here visitors enter a piece of architectural theatre, where after the traditional tea ceremony in the pavilion they exit the courtyard through a carefully conceived Japanese garden. Mirroring the feelings Sugimoto evokes with his photographs, the result is one of calm meditation, invoking both time and memory. Beautiful.
Meanwhile, Abstract Vaudeville: The Work of Rose English follows the emergence of this artist from the Conceptual Art, Dance and Feminist scenes of the 1970s. Rose English is now one of the most influential performance artists working today and her career has spanned over 40 years to date. It is documented here by the use of ephemera, site-specific perfomances, large scale spectacle and scripts, as well as interviews with some of her collaborators.
Rodney Graham: The Rodney Graham Songbook is an artist’s book and actually does take the form of a popular songbook. It is a compilation of 39 songs from artist Graham’s musical and performance repertoire. The songs are shown transcribed on to sheet music with musical notations and lyrics. It is the first book published in the Vancouver Specials series.
Finally, William Minke: No Way Home / Volksbuhne 2004 – 2017 is all about the radical people’s theatre in Berlin that has not only shaped people’s views of the city, but also written its theatrical history. Minke worked at Volksbuhne for 13 years before it closed down, and he took many photos, not only of the performances themselves, but the quieter places and situations. It is a great insight into the influential role this theatre has had in the city.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our backlist theatre and perfomance book highlights. We now have over 4000 titles on our list, so if these don’t get you fired up, there are plenty more to browse. If you ever are in Manchester, then do remember that HOME (our HOME) is THE place to visit. We’re biased of course, but we don’t think you’d be disappointed.
Picture credit: The Maids (photo by Mark Leeming)