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Choreographic exhibition created in response to Ireland’s legislature opens at IMMA

An unconventional new work by the distinguished Austrian choreographer Michael Kliën, created following a two-week sojourn in Dáil Éireann, will be presented at the Irish Museum of Modern Art from Tuesday 4 to Sunday 9 October 2011. In SILENT WITNESS – A DANCING MAN Kliën will present a response, in the form of a performance, to the workings of Ireland’s legislature, based on his personal observations and on his interaction with a range of individuals during his stay.

As the title implies, the work consists of two distinct elements. SILENT WITNESS refers to Kliën’s period in the Dáil during which time he took on no specific role beyond that of an observer in unfamiliar territory, studying the structures of daily life in the legislature and the means and manner in which it organises its affairs. Kliën’s access to the Houses of the Oireachtas was facilitated by Jan O’Sullivan, Minister of State for Trade and Development, and Mark Mulqueen, Head of Communications at the Houses of the Oireachtas, as well as Superintendent Paul Conway.

A DANCING MAN refers to Kliën’s choreographic response, expressed through live performance in the galleries at IMMA, to his experiences in Dáil Éireann. These performance sessions will last throughout the Museum’s opening hours, with the exception of occasional breaks and possible interactions with exhibition visitors. 

Commenting on his experiences in Dáil Éireann and his preparations for the opening at IMMA Kliën said: “I would like to avoid making a direct link between the time spent ‘embedded’ in the Irish legislature and the choreographic exhibition at IMMA.  The work in IMMA is not an illustration or interpretation of my experiences in the Dail. Both works are a meditation on government, a critique, maybe even a form of protest, but their relation to each other is open-ended, poetic, circular.”

Kliën plans to carry out similar experiments on China’s production lines and in the New York’s Stock Exchange over the coming year.  
Since his early 20s, Kliën’s work has been concerned with the theoretical and practical development of choreography. Committed to deconstructing our assumptions on choreography, dance and culture, he has set out to redevelop choreography as an autonomous artistic discipline concerned with the workings of patterns, dynamics and ecologies. Responding to the many urgent issues facing our contemporary environment, this new conception of choreography harnesses its social potential to pursue conditions where new orders of human relations and patterns can emerge.
Born in Austria in 1973, Michael Kliën studied choreography in Vienna and London. He received a PhD from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 and has lectured at many prestigious institutions (including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London, and the Laban Dance Centre, London). Kliën was co-founder and Artistic Director of the London based arts group Barriedale Operahouse (1994–2000) and Artistic Director of Daghdha Dance Company (2003–2011). Kliën’s choreographies have been performed in many countries across the world. Commissions include Ballett Frankfurt; ZKM Centre for Contemporary Art and Media, Karlsruhe; Tanzquartier Wien and the Vienna Volksoper. Recent projects include Choreography for Blackboards at IMMA and the Hayward Gallery, London and Standing in Ink at the Crawford Gallery, Cork.

Opening hours:
Tuesday 4 October to Sunday 9 October from 12noon to 5.00pm

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at tel: + 353 1 612 9900; email: [email protected]

3 October 2011

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.