As part of its participation in the Three M Project with the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, the MCA has commissioned a work by the London-based American artist Daria Martin. Her elusive, enigmatic films combine intense ritualistic performativity with a rigorous yet detached photographic approach. Her 16 mm film, Minotaur, runs approximately 10 minutes and pays tribute to the work of dancer Anna Halprin, one of the key pioneers of postmodern dance and movement along with Trisha Brown, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer. Halprin’s life and work has had a profound influence on Martin in the implicit sensuality of the protagonists in her films and in their demonstration of a heightened awareness of the body and its relationship to other objects and the surrounding space.
This film is centered on a Halprin dance based on the sculpture Minotaur by Auguste Rodin from 1886 (also known as Faun and Nymph), a work possessing intensely erotic content (it depicts the part-man/part-bull figure from Greek mythology with a naked young female figure in its grasp.) Martin’s Minotaur extends her interweaving of highly conceptualized and choreographed physical movement; complex, layered stagecraft provoking unconventional formal relationships; direct allusions to modernist art history; and editing and cinematographic techniques evoking a broad range of the histories of both mainstream and experimental filmmaking.
According to Martin: “Minotaur combines three spaces of artistic production: the two-dimensional images of Rodin’s Minotaur sculpture in various books; the three-dimensional sculpture itself; and the four-dimensional dance choreographed by Anna Halprin based on the sculpture. It also features three spaces of context: Anna Halprin’s face looking at the books; the dancer’s souvenirs, objects, and photographs (skeleton, clay objects, photographs of bodies); and the natural surroundings beyond Halprin’s dance studio, including trees, burnt out trunks, etc. These six spaces are connected through formally inventive edits and physically inventive transitions.”
This project is curated by MCA Curator Dominic Molon.