The notion that a building might be programmed or “played” with the dexterity of an instrument, with both its culture and architectural characteristics being finely tuned to an artist’s work, without any physical alterations being necessary, has been apparent in the most challenging and memorable performances staged during Vivid LIVE over the last decade. There is probably no performer who brings late modern architecture so poetically into performances than R&B musician and performance and visual artist Solange Knowles who will appear on the bill during the 10th anniversary of Vivid LIVE in 2018. .
With a warm and soulful precision she choreographs dancers, musicians and, at times, the audience, using some aspect of the architectural properties of the spaces she performs in to amplify the themes of personal strength and family in the songs on her A Seat at the Table album that she describes as “a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing.” She’s staged an exquisite performance within the white curved walls of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York, with the audience all in white, an angular response to Donald Judd’s installations of his artworks in Marfa, Texas, and a photo-shoot at the Noguchi Museum with her clothing and poses finding a sympathetic connection to Isamu Noguchi’s abstract, organic sculptures.
Relating to the spaces begins as a form of physical meditation for her. “I think being in the space to create a specific work provides the best environment for me because I’m approaching it architecturally, I’m approaching it mathematically, I’m getting the floor plans, I’m getting the layout and then I’m creating the experience.”