23 Dec 2022 - 14 Jan 2023 — Literature
Photo credit: Peggy Kaplan
Alexandra Bachzetsis is a choreographer and visual artist, based in Zurich (CH). Her practice unfolds at the intersection of dance, performance, the visual arts and theater, generating a conflation of the spaces in which the body, as an artistic and critical apparatus, can manifest. This fundamentally interdisciplinary approach is reflected in her educational background. She studied and graduated at the Zürcher Kunstgymnasium (CH), the Dimitrischule in Verscio (CH), the Performance Education Program at the STUK arts centre in Leuven (BE), and then continued to post-graduate level at Das Arts, the Advanced Research in Theatre and Dance Studies centre in Amsterdam (NL). During these years of training, Bachzetsis began to work as a dancer in the contemporary dance and performance context, collaborating with Sasha Waltz & Guests (Berlin) and Les Ballets C. de la B. (Gent), among others. Collaboration, transference and a plurality of voices and bodies have informed Bachzetsis’ work ever since and is often thematized as a method of developing new work in her practice.
Much of Bachzetsis’ work involves choreographies of the body, focusing on the ways in which popular culture provides source material for gesture, expression, identification, and desire as we continually create and re-create our bodies and the way we identify through them. Within this, she scrutinizes the mutual influence between the use of gesture and movement in “popular” or “commercial” genres on the one hand (online and social media, fashion, video-clips, television, etc.) and in the “arts” on the other hand (ballet, modern and contemporary dance, photography, performance, and so forth). For Bachzetsis, the relationship between these varying forms and genres produce an inquiry into the human body and its potential for transformation. Ultimately, the way we all perform and stage our bodies and ourselves – through stereotypes and archetypes, through choice and cliché, through labor and spectacle – is a question that continues to shape the work of Bachzetsis.
Since Bachzetsis started working independently in 2001, she has created over 30 pieces, which have been shown in theaters, festivals and public space venues around the world. In addition to this, her work has been exhibited in a variety of contemporary art spaces and museums, including Kunsthaus Zurich (Zurich, 2022), the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, 2019), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2017), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2013 and 2015), Tate Modern (London, 2014), the Jumex Museum (Mexico City, 2014), and Kunsthalle Basel (Basel, 2008), as well as a number of international biennials and large-scale exhibitions, such documenta 14 (Athens and Kassel, 2017), the Biennial of Moving Images (Geneva, 2014), (d)OCUMENTA 13 (Kassel, 2012), as well as the 5th Berlin Biennial (Berlin, 2008). Bachzetsis was nominated for the DESTE Prize (2011) and is a laureate of the Migros Kulturprozent Jubilee Award (2007), the Swiss Art Award (2011 and 2016), and Swiss Performance Prize (2012). Her work “Chasing a Ghost” was commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago and is touring Europe since 2019. Her recent piece “2020: Obscene” premiered its theatre version in November 2021 at the Gessnerallee in Zurich, while the exhibition version was shown for the first time in a solo exhibition in spring 2022 at the Kunsthaus Zürich. Bachzetsis will present her latest work “Notebook” at the Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen in 2023 as an installation that reviews, challenges, and expands her artistic methodologies of the past two decades—produced in collaboration with various conversation partners. Bachzetsis’s monograph Show/Time/Book Book/Time/Show will appear in 2023, edited by Hendrik Folkerts and designed by Julia Born.