Pablo Bronstein Unveils Historical Dances in an Antique Setting at Tate Britain

The internationally renowned artist Pablo Bronstein has unveiled Historical Dances in an Antique Setting at  Tate Britain. This is a continuous live performance by three dancers. This is the most ambitious project to date from . The work has been created for the annual Tate Britain Commission, supported by Sotheby’s, which invites artists to create a new large-scale work in response to the neo-classical Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain. 

Tate Visitors will be confronted with two large scale architectural structures spanning the width of the Duveens. Each is overlaid with visually manipulated images taken from Tate Britain’s exterior architecture, visually turning the gallery inside out. At its centre three classically trained dancers continually weave up and down the gallery, blending gestures and movements of Baroque choreography with the minimalist style of contemporary dance. 

The Historical Dances in an Antique Setting is inspired by Bronstein’s interest in history and the potential inaccuracies that occur when the past is re-created – particularly pertinent in the Duveen Galleries, whose style re-interprets that of classical architecture. The performance takes inspiration from the Italian concept of sprezzatura – a long standing interest of the artist – with the dancers striking elegant and refined poses while traversing the galleries. 

Pablo Bronstein Born in Argentina in 1977, Pablo Bronstein is known for humorous, erudite and beautifully executed drawings, structures and performances that reflect his fascination with the aesthetic and social attributes of pre-Modern European design and architecture. In his work, invented or fictionalised 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings and interiors become characters in an elaborate, irreverent comedy of manners. Playing with anachronism, Bronstein’s displaced architectural re-visitations are less concerned with cultural heritage than with probing the continuing role of aesthetic taste as a marker of status in our own times. 

Mr Bronstein said: “Grand architecture is one of the things I’m most interested in, so it was a rare opportunity to be able to create work in such a unique setting as the Duveen Galleries. The commission also presented a perfect and challenging opportunity to work with performance on a large scale.” 

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said: “Pablo Bronstein’s work consistently makes for deliciously jarring encounters between past and present, and between art and society. It’s fantastic to see his work come to life in the aesthetic and institutional grandeur of Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries.” 

Oliver Barker, Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe, said: “With each commission, the transformation of Tate’s historic Duveen Galleries surprises and enthralls audiences for what has become an unmissable event in the art world calendar. The installation and performances created by Pablo Bronstein for this famous space stand as another great chapter in this tradition. Now in its eighth year, we are immensely proud to continue our long-standing support for the commission.” 

Pablo Bronstein studied at Slade School of Fine Art and Goldsmiths College, London and currently lives and works in London and Deal, Kent. Selected solo exhibitions include Pablo Bronstein and the Treasures of Chatsworth, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK and Chatsworth, Derbyshire UK (2015); We Live in Mannerist Times, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2015); Enlightenment Discourse on the Origins of Architecture, REDCAT, Los Angeles (2014); A is Building, B is Architecture, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2013); Sketches for Regency Living, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK (2011); and Pablo Bronstein at the Met, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA (2009). Commissions include Beach Hut in the Style of Nicholas Hawksmoor, Folkestone Triennial (2014) and BMW Tate Live: Performance Room, Tate Modern, London, UK (2012). 

The Tate Britain Commission 2016: Pablo Bronstein: Historical Dances in an Antique Setting is curated by Linsey Young, Curator, Contemporary British Art, Tate and Sofia Karamani, Assistant Curator, Contemporary British Art, Tate.

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