Dance! Movement in the Visual Arts 1880–2020

Can dance be captured in an artwork? Can bodies in motion be frozen as images?

Dance! invites you to experience a meeting of two art forms: dance and visual art. The works featured convey the spectrum of affect that can be expressed through dance: from passion, bliss and joie de vivre to wistfulness, sorrow and vulnerability. Bodies in motion radiate with life and energy, but they also carry a reminder of our lack of defence to fatigue, illness, and the inexorability of death.

At the heart of the exhibition are collections of Finnish art museums from the 20th century, and how the works in the collections reflect embodiment and motion but also currents in the history of art and culture at large – while at the same time touching on broader social questions. On one hand, dance is associated with the idea of liberating and revolutionary joy, but, on the other hand, with the precise and focused practice of choreographed movement. The exhibition explores how aestheticized movement has been represented in the visual arts as two-dimensional images and three-dimensional forms, and how the moving body has embodied different identities, gender roles and cultural ideals.

The exhibition is based on the original concept of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum, curated by art and cultural historian Hanna-Reetta Schreck and exhibition curator Merimaa. Schreck and chef curator Elina Vieru are responsible for the updated version of the exhibition presented in Oulu and the new selection of works.

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