Exhibition Bettina Hoffmann: Choreography of Movement

Hold On - Bettina Hoffmann © Bettina Hoffmann

Mon, 01/28/2019 -
Mon, 02/25/2019

Goethe-Institut Montreal

1626 boul. St-Laurent
Bureau 100
H2X 2T1 Montréal

Daily until February 25, from sunset to midnight
Presented on the Goethe-Institut’s windows on St-Laurent Blvd. and Ontario St.


Originally from Berlin, Germany, Bettina Hoffmann has been a major figure in the artistic scene in Montreal since the 2000s. Known for her photography, installations, and videos, Hoffmann’s work possesses an intriguing, enigmatic power derived in part through her precisely-composed images and choreographed movements and through her use of ambiguous human interactions void of psychology. Her body of work is at the crossroads between photography, film, sculpture and dance, with a particular focus in recent years on choreography. The Goethe-Institut is pleased to present three of her most recent dance-related works, Drain (2012), Hold-On (2015) and Silent Office (2016/2018).
Bettina Hoffmann has exhibited extensively internationally and received several awards and grants. Exhibitions of her work in Canada, whether solo or in group shows, include: Occurrence (Montreal, 2016), Oboro (Montreal, 2014), the Art Gallery of Ontario, (Toronto, 2009), Dazibao (2007), and Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art (Toronto (2008). Her work is also part of several private and public collections in both North America and Europe, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Musée national des beaux-arts de Québec, and the  Berlinische Galerie in Berlin.

For more information on Bettina Hoffmann: http://www.bettinahoffmann.net

Hold On - Bettina Hoffmann Hold On - Bettina Hoffmann | © Bettina Hoffmann Hold On
HD, NTSC, 5:23 min, 2015
Dancers: Keven Lee, Katie Philp, Ilya Krouglikov, Melanie Lebrun (MTL)

Four people are gathered in a vast room. Suddenly one gets weak and is about to collapse. The others try to keep her upright, though two of them cannot use their hands and arms, and the third can only use her/his hands and nothing else. Their movements result in a chaotic and intimate, sometimes violent or sensual struggle. All four move like one organism, an entity, which experiences a sick member or limb, trying to regain functionality. The imposed body restrictions create a very fragile situation in which one’s movement which is not coordinated with the others can lead to falling and failure. Their clothing suggests an office environment in which their extremely busy but disengaged actions of helping seem to be an obligation rather than an altruistic, human reaction.

HD, NTSC, 9 min, 2012
Dancers: Kate Ladeheim, Freja Mitchel, Suzan Polat (NYC) Drain - Bettina Hoffmann Drain - Bettina Hoffmann | © Bettina Hoffmann
Produced during an artist residency in New York (CALQ).
As three women push, pull, and entwine with one another in a slow dance or struggle, the viewer watches from below, as if on the ground. When one woman is pushed down, and then pulled up again, water drops from her hair and ripples the surface of a sheet of water which is between the dancers and the camera. The cruel act of pushing someone into water contrasts with the aesthetic effect of the distortion of the image, creating an additional boundary between camera and performers, viewers and performance.

Silent Office
Video, HD, 9:37, 2016/18
Dancers: Mitsuko Aoki, Keke, Tomohiko Kyogoku, Atsuko Kurematsu, Yoko Sakurai, Nana Suzuki (Tokyo)
Musical composition: Dylan Lardelli

Silent Office - Bettina Hoffmann Silent Office - Bettina Hoffmann | © Bettina Hoffmann In a clean, empty storefront space which seems to be devoid of function, except for storing chairs, six people are present and start interacting. A person is pushed on a swivel chair in and out of the room. Others are crawling on chairs and the ground. Those sitting gesture in a constrained and increasingly nervous and agitated manner while remaining bound to their chairs. Their independent actions and movements slowly interfere through physical proximity causing disturbance and chaos.