In the second of the Lowry’s major series, in which performers are invited to curate a visual arts exhibition, dance artist Akram Khan entices audiences with what he describes as a ‘surreal Alice in Wonderland landscape of extremes’.
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated dance artists today. In just over a decade, he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad.
An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan is a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines.
Khan not only curates an exhibition but choreographs its journey too. Audience members are led by dancers throughout the passage of exhibits, where Khan designs and devises what will be seen, when and why.
Comparable to a ‘promenade theatre’ approach, the audience walk the footsteps of a premeditated storyline where Khan uses artwork from artists such as Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Nadav Kander. From time to time, the audience are accompanied by voice overs that speak of culture, diversity, life and death.
As flamboyant as Khan’s creation sounds each stop on this journey signifies some personal expression of the dancer conveyed through a medium other than dance.
When talking to the BBC about Gormley’s sculptures Khan commented –
‘I’m not a person who likes to stand still but it allows me to be still and my mind to be moving. It just conjures up emotions and is very powerful.
What I wanted to do was to awake the senses.’
Khan manipulates the world of art with his own unique brand enabling an audience to develop a relationship between what they see as an abstract and to interpret it into their own reality.
Khan’s exhibition is as much of a surreal experience as Wonderland would have seemed to Alice. Confusing at times, even frightening, but just like Lewis Carroll’s protagonist Khan presents an idea of his own growth and expansion of knowledge.
This exhibition’s narrative although a tale told from the perspective of one man, unites all its audiences.
One Side to the Other
Akram Khan – Performer as Curator