Paris 2023 programme

A retrospective of Yvonne Rainer's films

Yvonne Rainer, key figure in the avant-garde from the 1960s to the 2000s, acknowledged as much for her contribution to the history of nouvelle danse as for her work as an experimental filmmaker, will be honored with a complete retrospective of her full length films, presented in France for the first time in 10 years.

Dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and writer Yvonne Rainer (American, b. 1934) is one of the most influential artistic figures of the last 50 years. Her work has been foundational across multiple disciplines and movements: dance, cinema, feminism, minimalism, conceptual art, and postmodernism.
Rainer first came to prominence as a leading figure in the Judson Dance Theater movement, a loose collection of dancers and artists whose performances (often held at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City) crossed fluidly between the fields of dance and visual art, creating a striking and intellectualized form of performance that denied the theatricality and emotionalism of modern dance in favor of movements that seemed casual, spare, and cool.
Over time, Rainer's works became increasingly personal and political, and by the early 1970s she had begun to focus on producing experimental feature films. Over the next 25 years, Rainer produced an extraordinary series of films that engaged with the most advanced theoretical thinking of the time while also grappling with issues of power, privilege, and inequality. In 2000, Rainer returned to choreography and has continued to produce provocative and surprising new works to the present day.

Centre Pompidou
Wednesday 1st November, 7pm - Read more

Lives of Performers | | 16mm | 1:29:00 | USA | 1972

CWB Paris
Thursday 2 November, 2pm - Read more

Film About a Woman Who | | 16mm | 1:44:00 | USA | 1974

CWB Paris
Thursday 2 November, 4pm - Read more

Kristina Talking Pictures | | 16mm | 1:31:00 | USA | 1976

CWB Paris
Friday 3 November, 3.30pm - Read more

Journeys from Berlin | | 16mm | 2:04:00 | USA | 1980

CWB Paris
Friday 3 November, 7.30pm - Read more

The Man Who Envied Women | | 16mm | 2:05:00 | USA | 1985

Jeu de Paume
Saturday 4 November, 2pm - Read more

Privilege | | 16mm | 1:41:00 | USA | 1990

Jeu de Paume
Saturday 4 November, 4.30pm - Read more

Murder and Murder | | 16mm | 1:53:00 | USA | 1996

Between 1959 and 1960, she studied dance at the Martha Graham School, while learning ballet at Ballet Arts. In the early 1960s, she participated in Ann Halprin’s workshops and studiously attended classes by Merce Cunningham, where she met a number of her future collaborators. In 1962, she became a founding member of the Judson Dance Theatre. Much like other choreographers of her era, Rainer sought to blur the stark line separating dancers from non-dancers. Inspired by John Cage’s indeterminacy notions, she created her performances according to a series of generic tasks that integrated day-to-day gestures into a dance vocabulary (walking, running, lifting, etc.). Rainer created many of the best-known works produced by the Judson, including We Shall Run (1963), Terrain (1963) and Part of a Sextet (1964).
While creating At My Body’s House (1963), she asked engineers Billy Klüver and Harold Hodges to modify miniature radio transmitters to amplify the sounds of her breathing. In 1966, she premiered Trio A, the first section of her work The Mind is a Muscle. This sequence prohibits the dancers from looking at the audience while performing an uninterrupted series of complex movements. Trio A later became an independent work and was performed by Rainer and a number of other artists. Although she had integrated projected images into her performance environments since the mid 1960s, Rainer wrote and directed her first medium length film, Lives of Performers, in 1972.
In 1975, she began to focus primarily on making medium and full-length films, in which she reinvested narrative codes. Her films then took a distinctly feminist turn, exploring such themes as terrorism (Journeys from Berlin/1971, 1980), social exclusion (Privilege, 1990) and illness (MURDER and murder, 1996). Between 2000 and 2006, she returned to choreography and created two new works: After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (2000), a group performance commissioned by the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation, and AG Indexical, With a Little Help From H.M. (2006). Rainer taught in the Whitney Independent Program from 1974 onward, and since 2005 she has been emeritus professor at the University of California, Irvine (Irvine, California, U.S.).

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