Yve Laris Cohen – Waltz (Works)

Selected Works

Yve Laris Cohen

May 4 - 19, 2012

Yve Laris Cohen – Waltz Press Release

Thomas Erben is pleased to present Waltz; – an exhibition spatially conceived for and generated through a series of three performances by Yve Laris Cohen (b. 1985, San Diego, CA). Hesitation Change, Drag Hesitation, and Cross Hesitation are three styles of a fast waltz, where the dancers suspend movement for a full measure at a time. Working in sculpture, performance and dance, Laris Cohen, rather than literally playing or performing a waltz, instead uses the ¾ time signature as a template for the architecture and objects with which he interacts.

In the darkened gallery, the audience first observes the artist in a walled-off area, by way of a limited access view through a horizontal slit cut into the wall. The wall-mounted sprung dance floor from Coda, which Laris Cohen presented recently at SculptureCenter, is stacked horizontally in a corner. A slab of white wall blocks the enclosed area in which he prepares the surface of an identical second one, a process involving an extended sequence of ballet jumps. One of the walls makes a journey along the perimeter of the gallery, leaving scratch marks that – together with other accumulating residue – create the exhibition. The organization of each performance varies slightly, reflecting Waltz;’s three discrete titles.

Laris Cohen’s classical ballet training is important, as is his current involvement with the New York downtown dance community, which evolved out of the historic Judson Dance Theater. This non-linearity between the historical, the contemporary and its genesis is materially mirrored in the merging of the sculptural, the transitional, the architectural, the left over and the preparatory. For example, the gallery walls pose as architecture but become sculpture, whereas the moving walls quote Minimalism while operating as props.

Demoting ballet vocabulary to a functional enactment, in this case upon a movable wall, Laris Cohen renders both ballet technique and manual labor simultaneously useful and futile. Using dichotomies against themselves, he brings them into cohabitation, generating the possibility for a highly differentiated multivalent experience.

Yve Laris Cohen graduated with a BA in Art Practice and Dance & Performance Studies from the University of California Berkeley (2008) and an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University (2011). His work has been performed and exhibited at locations such as SculptureCenter, Dance Theater Workshop, Abrons Arts Center, Danspace Project, and Movement Research at the Judson Church (all in New York). Laris Cohen is a 2010-2012 Movement Research Artist in Residence, and received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Visual Art Grant Award in 2011. He has two upcoming performances in May 2012, at Danspace Project, NY; and the ICA Philadelphia, PA. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn.

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