Presenting works from the early 20th century to today, The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance examines the notion of stillness as both a performative and visual gesture, featuring artists who have constructed static or near-static experiments that hover somewhere between action and representation as they are experienced in the gallery.
Stillness and permanence are qualities typically seen as inherent to painting and sculpture—consider the frozen gestures of a historical tableau, the timelessness of a still life painting, or the unyielding solidity of a bronze or marble figure. The Paradox of Stillness, however, expands the artwork’s quality of stillness to accommodate uncertain temporalities and physical states. The exhibition rethinks the history of performance, featuring artists whose works include performative elements but also embrace acts, objects, and gestures that refer more to the inert qualities of traditional painting or sculpture than to true staged action. Investigating the interplay between the fixed image and the live body, this major group exhibition showcases some 100 works by approximately 70 artists, including live performances of works by Francesco Arena, Simone Forti, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Anthea Hamilton, Maria Hassabi, Pierre Huyghe, Anne Imhof, Joan Jonas, Goshka Macuga, Senga Nengudi, Roman Ondák, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Tino Sehgal, Cally Spooner, and Franz Erhard Walther.
Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis, curator and associate director of programs, Visual Arts; with Jadine Collingwood, curatorial fellow, Visual Arts