It is the ‘rearranged’ aspect of this movement-led exhibition at the Whitworth that best indicates its singularity, both as exhibitions go and from moment to moment. To explain: material / rearranged / to / be is an interdisciplinary, collaborative exhibition comprised of multiple works by choreographers, visual artists and designers. However, the exhibition is presented as a live environment, with the performances, projections, sculptures and objects on show constantly being repositioned and reorganised over time.
Apt, then, that material / rearranged / to / be takes ideas around bodily communication as its theme; coordinated by Siobhan Davies Dance, the exhibition echoes the fluidity of body language in its evolving arrangement, with new inferences constantly being revealed. The structure was inspired by the practice of Aby Warburg, a German art historian who coordinated images of specific gestures and poses from diverse times and places to draw unexpected connections between them; one of the central images in Warburg’s collection has also been transformed into a black ceiling mobile, which will hang in the gallery.
With some performers also engaging directly with visitors, asking for participation in performing expressive body postures or discussing the gestures associated with argument, material / rearranged / to / be takes on another element of spontaneity; no two members of the public will, after all, respond in the same way. It is, then, an exhibition that is unpredictable in both form and content, itself reactionary whilst also prompting response from its audience; it is its own conversation through movement.