SOLO SHOW -Guggenheim Bilbao


June 24, 2021 - October 24, 2021

Cecilia Bengolea (b. 1979, Buenos Aires) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice merges video, choreography, and sculpture. In her investigation, Bengolea explores forms of popular dance which combine contemporary and archaic elements, where the timeless concept of figuration reappears. Following the thread of water and movement flow, this exhibition presents three works where the artist’s reflection on dance, the sensorial interplay between the body’s interiority and exteriority, as well as the rhythmical relations of social community and nature, manifest through choreographic language. The recent production Lightning Dance (2018) is, as many of her projects, based on a profound collaboration between the artist and the featured performers. The work, in this case, belongs to the series developed by Bengolea around dancehall culture on the island of Jamaica. This vibrant piece investigates the influence of atmospheric electricity on behavior and the imagination. The rhythm constructed by the video shows a constant intertwining of musical and environmental energies, thunder and percussion, synchronized as part of a unique sound system. For these groups of performers, not only is dance a form of expression but it is also invested with curative powers. This spectacular piece is joined by two digital animations, Bestiaire (2019) and Favorite positions (2018). Using hologram-like imagery, the artist visualizes the fantastical transformations of a body in a state of perpetual change. Bestiaire takes inspiration from descriptions found in Jorge Luis Borges's Book of Imaginary Beings, after which the artist scanned her body while morphing into a bestiary of fantastic creatures. Meanwhile, the video sculpture Favorite Positions summons the octopus spirit to suggest a body without boundaries – a fully liquid being, born out of a state of constant rehearsal. The soul and rhythms that infuse this body move in multiples directions at once.

Curator: Manuel Cirauqui


Show - Bombom's Dream and Bestiaire

58th October Salon | Belgrade Biennale 2021

58th October Salon | Belgrade Biennale 2021 announces new opening dates, new exhibition spaces and the list of artists
June 25 – August 22, 2021

Press conference | Friday, 25th June 2021
Opening | Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th June 2021


Cecilia Bengolea at the 13th Gwanju Biennale -Minds Rising Spirits Tuning

Dancehall Weather, Tryptique, 2019, video still

Over the past decade Cecilia Bengolea has developed a collaborative practice rooted in the reconfiguration of the human relationship with nature and its merger with the body. To produce her films and performances, the Paris-based Argentinian dancer and choreographer has conducted research on community dance forms, deep-sea habitats, animal behaviors, animist beliefs, gang semiotics, and observational studies of the body’s fluid systems to interpret the ecological and social effects of human activity.

Presented in an algorithmically-generated sequence and captured across various locations in Jamaica, Oneness (2020) is Bengolea’s video archive of dynamic footage of dancehall culture that builds to a fluid dance performance choreographed for the Jamaican national synchronized swimming team. “Working on steps is just one part of the endeavor to synchronize and compose ourselves within a state of greater liquidity,” Bengolea explains. “The movements I’m drawn to are those in which the body is driven by a physical intelligence of its own. Through ritual and repetition, arms, legs, and torso seem to develop an independent memory. Relieved of the cumbersome call-and-response mechanism that separates action from thought, the body begins to describe a life of its own.”

Her newly commissioned performance continues Bengolea’s choreographic experiments that test the spiritual contours of collectivity, consciousness, empathy, and healing. To do so, she integrates centuries-old systems of energy mobilization and coordinated body-posture, movement, breathing, and meditation and her training in kung fu, Thai boxing, qi gong, and tai chi with western somatics like postmodern dance and Body-Mind Centering, a movement practice that allows practitioners to perceive their internal rhythms and bodily fluids and structures as a way of informing their gestures through sensations and not only anatomical imagination. Proposing an inside-out transformation by aligning internal cellular movement with external expression through the combined agency of eastern and western practices, Cecilia Bengolea has created workshops in collaboration with Gwangju-based Takkeyon practitioners between seven and eleven years of age for the Biennale opening procession. Children are called to lead the audience and perform instructions of respiration, giving form to the conditions of sensing, the sculpting of our future in oneness and in togetherness with life, in transit between the physical and spiritual, in one body and mind.