Max Estrella presents LaBOLA desborda, La Ribot’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. transdisciplinary artist la Ribot has been working in the fields of dance, theater, performance, and video for years. Her work has been showcased in museums and theaters worldwide, earning her the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for Dance in 2020.
Invited to perform at the Museo del Prado lfor the inaugural events of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union last summer, she presented her performance LaBOLA in the iconic temple of classical art. During this action, a series of photographs were taken under the artistic direction of La Ribot and are now exhibited to the public for the first time in this show.
On July 9, 2023, the central gallery of the Prado, the heart of the museum, appeared chaotically occupied by an explosion of scattered objects and clothing, completely transforming the room’s appearance. As the performance began, three performers evolved, creating with their bodies a human ball that was constantly forming and dissolving, never losing contact. LaBOLA moved through the grand gallery, exchanging clothes and objects while interacting with the audience and gallery attendants. In its journey, it encountered some of the museum’s most notable works, including Tiziano’s Portrait of Charles V, Tintoretto’s Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet and observing from the Velázquez room, Las Meninas.
The artist-edited photographs reflect the intensity of the moment, allowing for new conceptual readings and appreciation of whimsical details that inevitably capture the viewer’s attention. Through photography, dance merges with painting, and painting merges with dance. In the words of art historian Jean-François Chevrier, “never before has it been shown with such splendor how dance, the art of movement par excellence, can encounter the language of gestures in classical painting.”
The action at the Prado represents an extraordinary twist to LaBOLA performed in her solo exhibition A escala humana at Alcalá 31 in 2022. The presented images create a communion between the different spatial dimensions of the performers, the audience, and the paintings in the gallery. The result is a disconcerting rarity; everything happens in reverse. The audience doesn’t look at the paintings but at “occupants” exchanging clothes and objects. The attendants, overwhelmed by the event, try to protect the works on the walls. However, La Ribot’s edited images show that Velázquez, Tintoretto, or Veronés collide with LaBOLA formed by dancers Ludovico Palladini, Piera Bellato, and Mathilde Invernon, and all of them, in turn, collide with the bewildered visitors. No one looks at the camera because, in reality, these are not photos; they are living paintings. The twenty-five images displayed at Max Estrella immortalize an unrepeatable moment.
La Ribot would like to express gratitude to the Max Estrella gallery and, in particular, to Alberto. Thanks to the dancers Piera Bellato, Mathilde Invernon, and Ludovico Paladini for being such magnificent artists. Special thanks to Jaime Conde. Appreciation to Guillermo Gumiel for his tremendous patience. Thanks to EGM, especially to Joaquín and LUCAM. Gratitude to the Venetians, the extras, the security personnel, and the audience. Thanks to the Prado Museum, Miguel Falomir and Ana Moreno, the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Maral Kekejian, and Alberto Giovanetti from the Embassy of Switzerland for Spain and Andorra. Thanks to Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council, the City of Geneva, and the Canton of Geneva for their support to La Ribot Ensemble.
La Ribot (Madrid 1966) is a choreographer, dancer, and artist. Her work, initiated at the end of the democratic transition in Spain in the 1980s, has profoundly transformed the field of contemporary dance. She challenges the frameworks and formats of the stage and the museum, freely borrowing from the vocabularies of theater, visual arts, performance, cinema, and video to carry out a conceptual displacement of choreography. Since then, her solos, collaborative explorations, investigations with amateurs, installations, and moving images have presented the facets of a protean practice that constantly plays with the rights of the body. (Marcella Lista, writer and curator of the New Media Collection at the Centre Pompidou in Paris – 2020).
Among her awards and recognitions are the Golden Lion for her lifetime achievement at the Venice Dance Biennale in 2020, the Grand Swiss Dance Prize awarded by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture in 2019, the Culture Award from the Community of Madrid in Fine Arts in 2018, the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts from the Ministry of Culture in 2015, and the National Dance Award from the Ministry of Culture in 2000. Her choreographic work has been presented, among others, at Tate Modern in London; the Festival d’Automne, Théâtre de la Ville, and Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum (MNCARS) in Madrid; the Aichi Triennial in Nagoya, the Serralves Museum in Porto, the Art Unlimited platform at Art Basel in Basel, S.M.A.K. in Ghent, or the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) in Mexico City. Her visual work is part of collections such as the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum in Madrid (MNCARS), the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Center for Visual Arts in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla y León (MUSAC), Artium (Basque Center-Museum of Contemporary Art), or the Regional Fund of Contemporary Art (FRAC) of Lorraine (France), etc.