Alice Anderson: From Dance To Sculpture, Riflemaker, Frieze Art Fair

The French-Algerian artist Alice Anderson returns to Riflemaker after two years for a special Frieze show: From Dance to Sculpture, a geometric room installation that will transform the entire main space at Riflemaker into a labyrinth of metal rods. As visitors negotiate their way through Anderson’s fragmented sculpture, they will generate their own performance, making the rods vibrate with their body gestures.

In this Frieze Week world premiere at Riflemaker, Anderson will appear together with her group of performers. They will weave between the 365 floor-to-ceiling bars, one for each day of the year of the artist’s remembered 11-year-old self, as they wind, ritualistically, doll’s hair and copper wire.

Aesthetica spoke to Alice about her forthcoming exhibition at Frieze.

A. Lets start at the beginning, what is the main force of your creative practice? Where did it all begin?
AA: Everything comes from Pulsions, the desire to create forms upon existing forms, the end goal being pure satisfaction. When I am winding around objects I guess that I am transforming a libidinal energy into something else. It is like an act of reparation, protection, and preservation. During the past two years, I’ve focussed on binding various objects and buildings with copper thread and red fibre. I’ve worked on very large structures from the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris to the Freud Museum in London. For the last couple of months I’ve started to bind the entire objects of my studio with copper thread.

A: Could you tell us about From Dance to Sculpture?
AA: From Dance to Sculpture is an exhibition that shows sculptures as results of performances, revealing a process similar to shamans’ dances. It talks about the essence of a gesture, the essence of a form, exploring the human experience. Alternatively objects also give us a reflexion / a vision about of our time.

A: You focus largely on interweaving your own personal connections through your artwork, by using personal objects or performing your own childhood memories. Could you expand on this?
AA: By doing these actions of winding around objects I feel that I am avoiding their destruction. Recently James Putnam drew parallels between these bound objects and the ancient Egyptian’s embalming process to achieve immortality. Like time capsules they are preserved and made safe representing a fixed moment suspended in time.

A: Your work of binding various objects involves mixing dolls hair with copper thread. Could you tell us your reasoning behind using these materials?
AA: The materials of red fibre or copper thread that I use, work as the extension of my body. These materials are retaining memories referring to my childhood recalling a body in a space. Here the colour is like a destiny. Symbolically they have positive attributes of protection and resistance. Threads, cords, ropes have a long tradition in mythology of many cultures. From the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, the rope has a symbol of protection and strength.

A: The audience is a central element to your work, especially at Riflemaker. What are you hoping to achieve by integrating the visitor?
AA: The performances will challenge visual perception. The thread is so thin that the audience will be unable to see it when I will be binding the objects. They will only see the object changing ‘live’. For the people I guess that the gestures will resemble a silent ritual or mime performance. There will be nothing mystical about it because these intuitive movements are expressions of life itself.

A: You have already adorned venues such as The Royal Opera House and The Freud Museum. Can you tell us the exciting opportunities and buzz surrounding Frieze and what this means to you?
AA: For me the most important thing is the opportunity of sharing a strong personal experience with the public, abolishing human distances, inviting to speak with our senses. For example, in addition of the sculptures Binding The Studio presented at the first floor of Riflemaker, the live work will take place at the ground floor of the gallery. I will appear there together with a group of performers working every day winding around musical instruments of my studio: a guitar, a bass guitar, a key board and a drum kit. Performances will then give a full day silent concert of body gestures for the audience.

A: What other projects do you have planned for the future?
AA: At the same time as the Riflemaker exhibition, I will be showing a new large sculpture at the Whitechapel Gallery Binding the Library, then I have several large solo exhibitions abroad. The largest project planned until now is going to be in London in 2014.

From Dance to Sculpture, Alice Anderson, 8 October until 24 November, 79 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SU.


1. From Dance to Sculpture, Alice Anderson. © Riflemaker and Alice Anderson.
2. From Dance to Sculpture, Alice Anderson. © Riflemaker and Alice Anderson.