35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Installation view of the work of Bouchra Ouizguen during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Bouchra Ouizguen

Choreography goes beyond the composition of movement in space, it involves working with time, with the voice, with the affections of those who watch, and with the invisibles that flit between the images in the form of words, memories, or stealthy allusions. The choreographic can occur on stage, but also in a public space, or on a video screen that shows the action of a group of women in a desert. The Corbeaux [Crows] choir is constituted by women of different ages and backgrounds, some of whom have been part since the beginning of Compagnie O. Fatna, Kabboura, Fatéma and Halima were already professionals before meeting Bouchra: they had worked as shikhat, dancers and singers who liven up parties and popular celebrations. If the function of the shikhat can be considered in itself subversive, due to their freedom to address topics forbidden to women in public spaces, in their collaboration with Bouchra they shed the spectacular costumes and masks to expose their bodies, trained in the aita and in popular dance, and build situations of poetic sorority. With a simple gesture, Bouchra and Compagnie O produce a displacement with respect to the hegemonic modes of contemporary dance, while avoiding the exoticization and domestication of the tradition which results of cultural and entertainment tourism.

In this singular choreographic proposal, classical Arabic poetry constitutes a mobilizing element, but it does not occupy a privileged position with respect to Berber singing, the creative force or the daily experiences of these actresses. That everyday life is what is shown in Fatna, where Bouchra materializes the idea of a dance that can occur in any circumstance, while reading, cooking, or leading the sheep. Its reverse is constituted by the collective, ritualized action, in an extended community that deeply affect the audience in their live performances, not only for their repeated gestures and vocal rhythms, but for the forcefulness with which they create that collective that, in its imperfect simultaneity, coexists with the affirmation of the uniqueness of each of the participants. This piece, between living sculpture and ritual at ground level, arose, according to Bouchra, from an impulse, affected by the bustling beauty of the Marrakech market. Flying into the desert, this flock of crows [corbeaux] shows all the beauty, at the same time sacred and playful, of the bodies [corps beaux] thanks to that camera that flies with them and settles on the detail as an incarnate vision.

josé antonio sánchez

Bouchra Ouizguen (Uarzazate, Morocco, 1980. Lives in Marrakech, Morocco) is a dancer and choreographer. Her multidisciplinary work has been presented internationally both in theaters and festivals as well as in institutions such as Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Tate Modern (London, UK), Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain), and Power Station (Shanghai, China). She created Madame Plaza (2008), Ha! (2012), Corbeaux (2014), Ottof (2015), Jereda (2017), and Éléphant (2022).