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William Forsythe

William Forsythe, Black Flags, 2014 Readymade industrial robots, silk flags, carbon fiber flagpoles, and steel plates, Dimensions variable© William Forsythe, photo by David Brandt

William Forsythe, Black Flags, 2014

Readymade industrial robots, silk flags, carbon fiber flagpoles, and steel plates, Dimensions variable
© William Forsythe, photo by David Brandt

About

William Forsythe is a radical innovator in choreography and dance. For more than four decades, he has redefined the syntax and praxis of his field, exerting unparalleled influence on subsequent generations of artists. Over the course of his career, he has developed an extensive repertoire of groundbreaking ballet choreographies and experimental, non-proscenium-based dance-theater works, as well as an open-access digital platform for dance analysis, notation, and improvisation. His works are featured in the repertoire of many of the world’s major ballet companies, including Paris Opera Ballet; Mariinsky Ballet, Saint Petersburg; Semperoper Ballet, Dresden, Germany; Royal Ballet, London; New York City Ballet; San Francisco Ballet; Boston Ballet; and the National Ballet of Canada. Parallel with the evolution of his choreographic performances, Forsythe has worked for more than twenty years on installations, film works, and discrete, interactive sculptures, which he calls “choreographic objects.”

Forsythe was born in 1949 in New York. He was resident choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet, Germany, from 1976 to 1984, and director of Ballet Frankfurt, Germany, from 1984 to 2004. He established and directed the Forsythe Company from 2005 to 2015, and was most recently artistic advisor to the Paris Opera. He was named an honorary fellow of the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London and holds an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York. Solo museum exhibitions include Proliferation and Perfect Disorder, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2006); Additive Inverse, 21_21 Design Sight, Tokyo (2007); Focus on Forsythe, Sadler’s Wells and Tate Modern, London (2009); Transfigurations, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2009); Nowhere and Everywhere, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2013); The Fact of Matter, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (2015); and Wanås Konst, Knislinge, Sweden (2017). Beginning in 1989 with a special commission by architect Daniel Libeskind, The Books of Groningen, Forsythe has produced numerous installations, among them Tight Roaring Circle, Artangel, London (1997); Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, Creative Time, New York (2005); and Black Flags, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Germany (2014–15). He has participated in the Whitney Biennial (1997); Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2005, 2009, 2012, 2014); and Sydney Biennale (2016).

Forsythe has received several awards, including the title of Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters (1999); Hessische Kulturpreis/Hessian Culture Prize (1995); German Distinguished Service Cross (1997); Wexner Prize (2002); Golden Lion of the Biennale di Venezia (2010); Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2012); and Grand Prix de la SACD (2016).

Forsythe lives and works in Vermont.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen

Online Exhibition

Broadcast
Alternate Meanings in Film and Video

You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
—Timothy Leary

Gagosian is pleased to present Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video, an online exhibition of artists’ films and videos viewable exclusively on gagosian.com. The exhibition will be organized into a series of “chapters,” each lasting two weeks. The first chapter begins on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now, taking the words of famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary as its starting point. 

Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Osedax, 2010 (still) © Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher

Visit

Dhaka Art Summit

February 7–15, 2020
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka
www.dhakaartsummit.org

William Forsythe and Ellen Gallagher are participating in Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements. Over nine days, five hundred artists, scholars, curators, and thinkers will join in panel discussions, performances, and symposia addressing the theme: “What is a movement and how do we ignite one beyond the confines of an art exhibition?” The event is free and open to the public. 

Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Osedax, 2010 (still) © Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher

William Forsythe, Unsustainables, 2019 (detail), installation view, SESC Pompéia, São Paulo © William Forsythe. Photo: Ricardo Ferreira

Performance

William Forsythe
December Dance 19

December 5–8, 2019
Concertgebouw, Bruges, Belgium
www.concertgebouw.be

At the invitation of Needcompany, William Forsythe has created two new short works for December Dance 19, the international dance festival curated by the multidisciplinary dance company. To attend the event, purchase tickets at www.concertgebouw.be.

William Forsythe, Unsustainables, 2019 (detail), installation view, SESC Pompéia, São Paulo © William Forsythe. Photo: Ricardo Ferreira

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Museum Exhibitions

William Forsythe, Unsustainables, 2019 (detail), installation view, SESC Pompéia, São Paulo © William Forsythe. Photo: Ricardo Ferreira

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William Forsythe in
The Time of Work

March 14–May 10, 2020
Z33 Kunstcentrum, Hasselt, Belgium
www.z33.be

In the group exhibition The Time of Work, artists direct the visitor’s gaze around the building. The artistic interventions aim to enhance, challenge, and question Z33’s architecture. Work by William Forsythe is included.

William Forsythe, Unsustainables, 2019 (detail), installation view, SESC Pompéia, São Paulo © William Forsythe. Photo: Ricardo Ferreira

William Forsythe, Doing and Undergoing, 2016/2020, installation view, Dancing Machines, Frac
Franche-Comté, Besançon, France © William Forsythe

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William Forsythe in
Dancing Machines

February 2–April 26, 2020
Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon, France
www.frac-franche-comte.fr

Performance artists have long made their own bodies works of art, and choreographers often borrow from the field of contemporary art. Dancing Machines questions the way in which performance art and choreography interact and explores how these artists represent and show the body today. Work by William Forsythe is included.

William Forsythe, Doing and Undergoing, 2016/2020, installation view, Dancing Machines, Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon, France © William Forsythe

William Forsythe, The Fact of Matter, 2009 © William Forsythe. Photo: Liza Voll

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William Forsythe in
Water

December 7, 2019–April 26, 2020
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

Water invites visitors to explore the vital element, which sustains all forms of life on earth. From immersive experiences to smaller-scale treasures, the exhibition highlights the importance of water and aims to spark conversations about the environmental and social challenges we face today. Work by William Forsythe is included.

William Forsythe, The Fact of Matter, 2009 © William Forsythe. Photo: Liza Voll

William Forsythe, City of Abstracts, 2000, installation view, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany © William Forsythe

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William Forsythe

February 5–December 1, 2019
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
www.museum-folkwang.de

William Forsythe is presenting four exhibitions at the Museum Folkwang over the course of 2019. The first project is the interactive video work City of Abstracts (2000), which is installed in the museum’s foyer from February until the end of May. As visitors approach the piece their images are projected onto a screen, inviting interaction as their bodies are melded into a dance of stretched and spiraled forms. The second project is Human Writes Drawings, on view for the month of June, which shows Forsythe succeeding in transferring his choreographic exploration of human rights into the genre of drawing. The third, Aviariation, on view in one of the museum’s courtyards starting June 29, sets the branches of trees planted there swaying, the leaves rustling. Besides engaging viewers, the movements have an effect on the local bird population—as the title suggests. In November, Forsythe presents the fourth and final part, Acquisition/Körperschaft, a work, featuring two dancers, that is at once performative and participatory, and that he is adapting specially for Museum Folkwang.

William Forsythe, City of Abstracts, 2000, installation view, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany © William Forsythe

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Press

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