Ann Van den Broek brings all the right moves to Barbican


IN summer 2015, artist Doug Aitken turned the Barbican into a ‘living exhibition’, bringing artists from the worlds of visual art, music, dance, film and design together for a ‘30-day happening’ titled Station to Station.

Dutch choreographer Ann Van den Broek contributed to the dance component, making work live in the space over the course of the month, surrounded by artists from all walks of life.

According to Barbican curator Leila Hasham, Van den Broek’s neighbours for the month-long residency had a dramatic impact on what she would do next.

“In sharing the gallery with multiple art forms, [she] was inspired to push and develop her practice; she has incorporated elements of sound, music, spoken word as well as dance and performance ever since,” she told City Matters.

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Loops of Behaviour is Ann van den Broek’s third appearance at the Barbican. Photos by Ann van den Broek / Loops of Behaviour.

Loops of Behaviour is her triumphant return to the Barbican after a second residency in 2017 – this time with top billing as the director of WArd/waRD dance company – for a 10-day performance installation aimed at creating “the total experience” of art.

Once a day, five performers will present an adapted version of her most recent piece of choreography Accusations, with extracts projected on to and performed around screens, creating a vast web of video, live dance and sound.

“For Ann, a total experience is when multiple elements combine to create a total work of art,” Leila explains.

“The installation will comprise multiple sounds, performances and visuals that will repeat over an extended period of time.

“The repetition and duration of the work will test the endurance of the performers, and van den Broek very consciously tests the limits of the audience too.”

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Much more than pictures on a wall: Loops of Behaviour part of the Barbican’s growing programme of performance exhibitions.

Far from the traditional exhibition experience of staring at pictures on a wall, Loops of Behaviour is part of an increasingly strong body of performance work at the Barbican, which saw Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson in 2016 plant two women dressed in Edwardian attire in a boat to drift across the Barbican lake.

More recently American choreographer Trajal Harrell staged re-imaginings of historical dance battle scenarios around the art gallery to explore concepts of spectacle in performance, race, gender and identity. And this ‘total experience’ is one we should expect to get used to at the Barbican.

“The Art Gallery and Curve are located within one of the largest cross-arts centres in Europe and, as such, our programme reflects the vision and spirit of the Barbican Centre,” Leila says.

“Similarly, our programme explores current trends and ideas within the wider cultural field and we are passionate about bringing a wide range of artistic practices to new audiences.”

Loops of Behaviour is on at Barbican Curve from 8 to 17 June. Go online to to check the performance schedule.