If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse ?
Conception: Boris Charmatz

Starting with a question – If Tate Modern was Musee de la danse? – this project proposes a fictional transformation of the art museum via the prism of dance. A major new collaboration between Tate Modern and the Musee de la danse in Rennes, France, directed by dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz, this temporary occupation, lasting just 48 hours, extends beyond simply inviting the discipline of dance into the art museum. Instead it considers how the museum can be transformed by dance altogether as one institution overlaps with another. By entering the public spaces and galleries of Tate Modern, Musee de la danse dramatises questions about how art might be perceived, displayed and shared from a danced and choreographed perspective. Charmatz likens the scenario to trying on a new pair of glasses with lenses that opens up your perception to forms of found choreography happening everywhere.
Presentations of Charmatz’s work are interwoven with dance performances that directly involve viewers. Musee de la danse’s regular workshop format, Adrénaline – a dance floor that is open to everyone – is staged as a temporary nightclub. The Turbine Hall oscillates between dance lesson and performance, set-up and take-down, participation and party.
Upstairs in Tate’s permanent collection, Musee de la danse displays its own collection of gestures with 20 Dancers for the XX Century and expo zéro, an exhibition performed by key international artists and thinkers who have been invited to present their own vision of what a Musee de la danse might be.
Throughout these two days all aspects of the museum – from exhibition, to collection, to learning, to institutional orientation – are explored anew. By shifting the focus from the conventions of what are for the most part static displays of art within the museum towards a performance-driven view, the project initiates a new time-based perspective within Tate Modern. The work of setting up and taking down the stages and seating for the performances is part of what is on show, making the active construction of the dancing museum visible. Given the transformations Tate Modern is undergoing in advance of the new building set to open in 2016, the act of looking at the museum itself and asking how art shapes the museum from within, is of immediate relevance.

Production: Musée de la danse / Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne – Direction: Boris Charmatz. Association supported by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles / Bretagne), the city of Rennes, the regional Council of Brittany and the General Council of Ille-et-Vilaine.
The Institut français contributes regularly to the international touring of the Musée de la danse.
Tate Modern

Created on Friday 15 and Saturday 16, May 2015 at Tate Modern, Bankside, London

Cover picture: © Olivia Hemingway, Tate, 2015 / Public warm-up If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse ?