Beyoncé’s Coachella performance may be dominating the news cycle, but she wasn’t the only Knowles sister unveiling new work last week. Before joining her sister at the music festival, Solange debuted Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube), a new video and dance performance featuring her own sculpture at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. (For now, footage of the performance lives exclusively on the Hammer’s website.)
Knowles directed the video, working closely with renowned choreographers Gerard & Kelly. The film features a group of dancers—all students from Cal Arts—moving in and around a Minimalist white cube sculpture to a spare, synth-filled score Solange composed with John Kirby. The geometric sculpture at the center of the film, titled Metatron’s Cube (2018), is due to travel across the US this summer. (The exact locales will confirmed at a later date.)
“It was such a joy to work with Gerard & Kelly, whose philosophies on movement align very closely with mine,” Knowles said of the collaboration. She also praised the Cal Arts students as “phenomenal dancers who lent their bodies and energies to this project.”
Gerard & Kelly, who have presented their work at the Guggenheim and the New Museum, first began working with Solange ahead of her SNL performance in 2016. (She reached out after she saw their work online.) “We share a lot of the same fidelities—to minimalism, postmodern dance, and an investment in the queer and feminist avant-garde,” Ryan Kelly told artnet News. “The connection was easy, the collaboration subtle.”
The choreography in Metatronia was largely adapted from Gerard & Kelly’s ongoing project, Modern Living, a series of performances at iconic Modern homes around the world, such as the Schindler House in West Hollywood to Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut.
“Each movement is associated to its position on the face of an analogue clock—12 in front, six behind, etc.—and attempts to keep real time in the dancer’s rhythm,” Brennan Gerard told artnet News. “Over time, the movement acquires a metronomic, meditative quality that aligned with Solange’s vision for Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube). It was interesting to see the movement re-interpreted through another artist’s eyes.”
Of course, Knowles is no newbie to performance art. Last spring, she starred in a sold-out Guggenheim performance that combined movement, installation, and music in the museum’s rotunda. And in August, she went to Marfa, Texas, to perform a piece called Scales—a mix of compositions and arrangements from her 2016 album A Seat at the Table set against the backdrop of Donald Judd‘s 15 Untitled Works in Concrete.
Unlike the notoriously rigid Minimalist masters to whom their work responds, Solange and Gerard & Kelly seem to feed off of the unexpected discoveries that result from collaboration. “There is an abundance of mutual respect between Solange and the two of us,” Kelly said. “That juices co-creation and collaboration. Plus we’re all feminists—so we know the single author is a myth of the patriarchy!”
Additional reporting by Julia Halperin
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