The Rite of Spring
1999-2002, 7 channel video installation, 13’56”
The Rite of Spring is among the most famous and acclaimed works of Kozyra’s. The seven-channel video installation treats death as a source of new life, delving extensively the issues with dance and performance art from the perspectives of history and criticism. Igor Stravinsky’s ballet work under the same title is reinterpreted and choreographed by a seasoned dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky. The convulsive and hysteric gestures in the video create senses of stress and horror same as Stravinsky’s work. Over the three years of production, Kozyra invited the elderly performer to lie down still in gestures of precision, took stills of the movement frame by frame, and arranged and edited the 12,000 photographs into a time-lapse animation. Owing to the rapid motion of this animation and its form that alters the body’s gravity, the movement of the elderly’s body creates a disturbing effect of dancing “to death”. The wrinkled “body-object”, combined with the cold-white background, works like a clumsy machinery suspended in the void that gives rise to an ambience of awkwardness and alienation. Amidst the stiff physical labor, the elderly’s body, helpless and symbolic, unveils the nature of the proto-Slavonic rite – demise becomes essential in the pursuit of revival.
Poland / 1963 born in Warsaw, Poland, now living and working in New York
The works of Katarzyna Kozyra since the 1990s have been investigating on various issues including self-identity, body, female corporality, and gender. Her works and actions have had profound impact to the new Polish art movement and critical art development, while the works were exhibited in major institutes and museums internationally that kindled dialogues. Kozyra produces an array of works from sculpture to photography, video installation, performance art, and art movement.