On July 7 and 8, 2017, the Don River Valley Park Art Program presented STAGING – undressed, a new live installation work by acclaimed New York-based artist Maria Hassabi.
Featuring a team of seven dancers, including Hassabi, STAGING – undressed is presented as a living sculpture with no beginning or end, using time as a technique and as a subject. STAGING focuses on the contours of stillness or slowness, while addressing the ways in which the spectacle of performance is presented within exhibitions, and in relation to architectural environments and public space. In its “undressed” iteration for Evergreen, out-of-doors and away from its institutional and architectural setting, the work invites the context of public space to influence the sculptural form and become its new stage.
Hassabi’s work often encourages new relationships to the transitory spaces we tend to move through without notice. In Toronto, STAGING – undressed unfolded over several hours along the Lower Don River, as visitors came and went, or stumbled upon an unexpected performance. The framework of STAGING – undressed was thus widened to include mannerisms of viewers or passersby, creating the potential for any action in the public space to be seen as choreography.
STAGING was a co-production of Evergreen/Don River Valley Park (Toronto, Canada), Aarhus 2017 (Aarhus, Denmark), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, US), and documenta 14 (Kassel, Germany).
Maria Hassabi (b. 1973, Cyprus) is an artist and choreographer. Over the years she has developed a distinct choreographic practice that triangulates an ever evolving relationship between the body, the still image, and the sculptural object. Her performances and installations have been presented internationally in theaters, museums, galleries, and public spaces.
They have been included in festivals, venues, and exhibitions including: documenta14, Kassel (2017); Stegi OCC, Athens (2017); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels (2017, 2014); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); The Kitchen, New York (2016, 2013, 2011, 2006); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015); ArtSonje, Seoul (2015); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014); steirischer herbst, Graz (2014); The 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013); Performa, New York (2013, 2009); Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva, Switzerland (2012); Performance Space 122, New York (2009, 2007); amongst others.
Hassabi has been awarded: a 2016 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production for her work PLASTIC; the 2015 Herb Alpert Award; the 2012 President’s Award for Performing Arts from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship; and a 2009 Grants to Artists Award from Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Hassabi holds a BFA from California Institute of the Arts. She is based in New York.