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photo of the artist by Lius Rodriguez

Ligia Lewis

Guest Lecture

May 9, 2023
5:00 - 6:30 p.m. PDT
SME 149, Structural & Materials Engineering Building, UC San Diego

Please RSVP

Ligia Lewis works as a choreographer conceiving and directing experimental performance. Lewis’s works, often marked by physical intensity and humor, seek to animate subjects through a process that disrupts normative conceptions of the body while negotiating the ghostly traces of history, memory, and the unknown. Through her choreographic scores and compositions, she develops expressive concepts that give form to movements, speech, affects, thoughts, relations, utterances, and the bodies that hold them. Thus her work slides between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Held together by the logic of interdependence, disorder, and play, she creates space(s) for the emergent and the indeterminate while tending to the mundane. In her work, sonic and visual metaphors meet the body, materializing the enigmatic, the poetic, and the dissonant. Lewis’s work continues to evoke the nuances of embodiment.

Lewis recently finished works including: “A Plot / A Scandal” (2022), Still Not Still” (2021), the trilogy “Water Will (in Melody)” (2018), “minor matter” (2016), and “Sorrow Swag” (2014). “Still Not Still” (2021) is preceded by a minor work for the museum context, “deader than dead” (2020), which is currently being presented as a film in various art contexts and was commissioned by Made in LA /Hammer Museum (US).

Her other works include: “Sensation 1/This Interior” (High Line Commission, 2019); “so something happened, get over it; no, nothing happened, get with it” (Jaou Tunis, 2018); “Melancholy: A White Mellow Drama” (Flax Fahrenheit, Palais de Tokyo, 2015); $$$ (Tanz im August, 2012); and “Sensation 1” (, Tanz im August, 2011 and Basel Liste, 2014).

Her work was presented in multiple venues across Europe, and the US, and abroad including HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin; Tanzquartier, Vienna; MCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Kaaitheater, Brussels; Arsenic, Lausanne; High Line Art, New York; Performance Space, New York (2019); OGR Torino; Stedelijk, Amsterdam; TATE Modern, London. Her work has also been presented at festivals and biennials such as the Ruhrtriennale, Bochum, Germany; Tanzplattform, Germany; Politik im Freien Theater Festival, Frankfurt; Liverpool Biennial; the Side Step Festival, Helsinki; Biennale of Moving Images / Centre D’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Diver Festival, Tel Aviv; American Realness, New York; The Donaufestival, Krems, Austria and Julidans, Amsterdam.

Lewis is the recipient of the Tabori Award in the category of Distinction (2021); a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants Award (2018); a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for minor matter (2017); a Factory Artist residency at tanzhaus nrw (2017-19); and a Prix Jardin d’ Europe from ImPulsTanz for Sorrow Swag (2015). Her work has been presented in multiple venues and is currently touring internationally.

“A theater is perhaps a kind of vise, a mechanism for durational holding. The best artists working in the form understand that whatever is placed between the proscenium’s jaws—sound, light, language, bodies, movement—is so clutched to facilitate the material’s irrevocable transformation, often via brute force. Ligia Lewis is one such artist.” - Catherine Damman (Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wesleyan University) on Ligia Lewis.

photo by: Luis Rodriguez
text from:

Co-sponsored by the Black Studies Project.


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