V&A Dundee to showcase work of celebrated Scottish dancer

V&A Dundee has unveiled plans for the first major exhibition celebrating the work of Michael Clark, the pioneering Scottish dancer and choreographer.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 7:30 am
Lorena Randi and Victoria Insole in Before and After The Fall. The V&A Dundee will next year show the first ever major exhibition on Michael Clark, the ground-breaking Scottish dancer and choreographer

The showcase of the groundbreaking dancer, who found fame after fusing the worlds of ballet with punk and club culture, will take place from next October through to February 2022.

The exhibition, which is being held in collaboration with Barbican Art Gallery, promises to reveal film, photography and material spanning Mr Clark’s career, alongside his collaborations across the fields of film, music, fashion, and the visual arts.

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V&A Dundee hailed Mr Clark as an “innovator” and “defining cultural figure who has introduced contemporary dance to a wide audience,” and said the exhibition will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, and rare archive material, some of which has never been seen before.

It will include archive film focusing on his work with filmmakers such as Peter Greenaway and Derek Jarman, fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and Gucci, as well as musicians including Scritti Politti, Laibach, and Bruce Gilbert from Wire.

The exhibition, entitled Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, is the latest major show announced by V&A Dundee.

Its current fashion exhibition, dedicated to the work of designer, Mary Quant, runs until next January. It will be followed in March 2021 by Night Fever, which explores the design element of club culture.

Leonie Bell, the incoming director of V&A Dundee, said: “Michael Clark is a truly remarkable creative force, who as a dancer and choreographer has challenged and redefined the limits of dance, its relationship to design and its place in contemporary culture.

“I am delighted to be looking forward to such a rich programme of major exhibitions at V&A Dundee, from Mary Quant to Night Fever and now Michael Clark.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be joining the team and having seen the joy of the museum recently reopening I can’t wait to get started.”

Mr Clark, from Aberdeen, took up traditional Scottish dancing at the age of four. In 1975 he left home to study at the Royal Ballet School in London. He rose to become artistic associate at the Barbican centre in 2005.

Jane Alison, head of visual arts at the Barbican, which will premiere the exhibition this autumn, said Mr Clark was an “electrifying” performer.

She said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with V&A Dundee to bring Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer to Scotland in October 2021, following the Barbican’s much-anticipated run from October 2020 to January 2021.

“Embraced by audiences both in the UK and on tour around the world, Clark’s electrifying contribution to the worlds of art, music and fashion is explored and celebrated in this inspiring exhibition, including works by a range of his most important collaborators and never before seen material from Clark’s archive.”

This exhibition will be curated by Florence Ostende, with Charlotte Hale the project curator for V&A Dundee. The initiative has been developed with support from Michael Clark Company. using public funding by Arts Council England.

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