With ‘Take a Seat’, Max Estrella concisely exhibits three pillars in La Ribot’s creation: the videos Traveling Olga / Traveling Gilles, 2004, Mariachi 17, 2009, and Walk the Bastards, 2017. Distributed in time, these works share the common denominator of La Ribot’s interest in the research of images, space and movement.
It is a double honor for Max Estrella to bring La Ribot back to exhibition spaces in her home city, coinciding with other events including her work taking place around Europe, such as at the Tinguely Museum in Basel (Performance Process, 60 years of Performance Art in Switzerland), Le Tripostal in Lille (F) (Performance! Les Collections du Centre Pompidou, 1967 – 2017), or in the Museo Reina Sofía’s homage to Soledad Lorenzo, where La Ribot’s work is also present, part of both institutions’ permanent collections.
Walk the Bastards, 2017, is an installation of 11 chairs composed of those not included in Walk the Chair, 2010, a previous work of La Ribot created on commission by the Hayward Gallery in London and that formed part of the exhibition ‘MOVE=Choreographing You’. The 50 pyro-engraved chairs of Walk the Chair which show quotes by choreographers, philosophers and artists about movement and participative art, have a dual function: to be read, turning the spectator into a performer, or to be used as their most obvious function, as observation point. Walk the Chair and Walk the Bastards are both shifting and random installations in which the chair occupies the place the spectator gives it.
Traveling Olga / Traveling Gilles, 2003, presents two individual unedited takes four minutes long, recorded with hand-held camera by dancers Olga Mesa and Giles Jobin. These videos are the result of an intense collaboration: recording, revising and re-recording, making changes and corrections. Each sequence entailed five days and at least thirty takes. The strategy is essentially the same in each video, but applied to two notably different dancers in two different places. The spaces for each performer were chosen according to their personality. Mesa, born in rainy Asturias, feels encouraged by a cold, humid, wintry English garden; while Jobin is surrounded by photographic scenery that stretches to the limit the spatial ambiguities of the operator’s body. Walls and floor are covered in deliberately kitschy mural-like photographs of groves of trees, lakes and the Alps; but as the camera “flies” through them, they turn into a multicolored box of “special effects”: a blue lake turns into sky, and trees of an autumn forest into a walkable rug. A melancholic and popular melody, Intermission III from Bizet’s “Carmen”, inserts an ironic note and gives an impression of false security to the actions.
Mariachi 17, 2009, is a 25-minute video shot in one long take, recorded by three dancers with hand-held cameras in La Comédie theater of Genève. The dancers / operators show us the image that results from their movement. The camera’s changing of hands is perceptible mainly in the body’s calligraphy, in its rhythm, its weight, its attention. The first camera is Marie Caroline Hominal –gentle, swift, agile. The second, Delphine Rosay, is more serene, controlled, and concentrated. The third, La Ribot, is subtle, elegant, and skillful. These three movements of the same composition –an almost-perfect, surprising composition– disrupt the public’s gaze without submerging into chaos; at the same time breaking down the notion of space, dragging it towards the imaginary dance of an invisible body which penetrates the mechanism of construction.