Magazine article Artforum International

Meredith Monk

Magazine article Artforum International

Meredith Monk

Article excerpt

JOYCE THEATER

Meredith Monk's performances have always been richly metaphorical collages of live and projected imagery, moving bodies, and powerful voices. Magic Frequencies, 1999, is a far more painterly work of visual theater. With its layers of transparent and opaque scrims between which the performers gracefully move, this latest production shows Monk in newly elegant form.

Her fresh approach is the product of two years spent on entirely different projects in previously uncharted territories. As part of "Art Performs Life," a 1998 show at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Monk presented her three-decade-long performance oeuvre in exhibition form. She created a matrix in which viewers could move among sounds and images sampled from hundreds of her staged works. Then, in "Shrines," an exhibition last spring at Frederieke Taylor/TZ'Art in New York, Monk filled two small rooms with objects and mementos from past performances: A row of white-painted suitcases softly played material first recorded in 1976; a pyramid of video monitors showed scenes from Volcano Song, a 1994 performance. These pieces spoke volumes of their source performances, yet were eerily present and evocative even if one had not seen the "originals. …

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