neugerriemschneider is pleased to present movement notations, our fifth solo exhibition on the life and work of dance composer and textile artist Noa Eshkol, on view at our Linienstrasse location during Berlin Art Week and the fall edition of Gallery Weekend Berlin. As a prelude to what would have been the artist’s 100th birthday, this exhibition turns from our previous engagement with her wall carpets to our first showcase of rare sculptural, graphic and filmic material from her archive. These crucial documents, many of which have remained unseen for decades, trace her pioneering development of Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation and shed light on the foundations of her practice.
From 1951 to 1956, following her return to Israel on the heels of a five-year course of expressionist-dance studies in England, Eshkol devised Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation along with architect Avraham Wachman. Published in 1958 as the book “Movement Notation,” the pair’s treatise outlined a new, unprecedented system for recording motion by way of an interdisciplinary, universally applicable structure. It was to transcend dance or the human form, moving beyond these boundaries to prioritize the articulation of appendages and extremities regardless of arrangement, composition or intention. Eshkol and Wachman laid the foundations for their notation, defining a schematic for all bodies, standardizing the properties of limbs and dividing all movement into three distinct categories, expounding on each with scientific precision. With these in place, the two detailed the construction of written manuscript pages - grid-like matrices that placed bodies and time in explicit relation - and supplemented them with diagrams by designer, theorist and performer John Harries, illustrating what they dubbed the System of Reference.
On view at neugerriemschneider is a selection of original drawings by Wachman and Harries, conceptualized in concert with Eshkol, presented alongside a grouping of suspended wire-and-mesh spheres that lend the System of Reference a third dimension. Ranging from abstract to representational, including sketches and inked graphics, these visualizations stand as testaments to the Notation’s innovative classification and archival of seemingly ephemeral actions. They hover between stylized and purely informational modes, existing as unique documents that highlight the duality of the theory’s necessarily systematic makeup and the often dramatically harmonious gestures, such as those that comprise Eshkol’s compositions, that they describe. Film material created of and by Eshkol and her collaborators showcasing studies of human and animal movement, manifestations of notation in motion, and documentary footage of Eshkol and her Chamber Dance Group, complement these artifacts, illuminating the system’s origins, enactment and the environments that it directly informed.
Eshkol’s choreographic work is showcased in a performance by the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group at KW Institute for Contemporary Art on August 25 and 27. In early 2024, the institution and Berlin’s Georg Kolbe Museum will reissue Eshkol and Wachman’s “Movement Notation” for the first time since its initial release. In March of 2024, the Georg Kolbe Museum opens a solo exhibition on Eshkol’s choreographic legacy, presented alongside and in dialogue with her wall carpets.
The artwork of Noa Eshkol (b. 1924, Degania Bet, Palestine; d. 2007, Holon, Israel) has been the subject of international solo and group exhibitions at Norrköpings Konstmuseum, Norrköping (2022); Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo (2021); Casa do Povo, São Paulo (2021); 34th Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo (2021); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2019); CFHILL Art Space, Stockholm (2019); Vleeshal, Middelburg (2017); Kunstverein, Amsterdam (2017); 20th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2016); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2016); Kunst- und Kulturstiftung Opelvillen Rüsselsheim, Rüsselsheim (2013); TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2012); Jewish Museum, New York (2012); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2012); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2011); Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2011); Open Museum Tefen, Kfar Vradim (2010); Hamumche Gallery, Tel Aviv (1998); Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod (1996); Danish Museum of Decorative Art, Copenhagen (1980); and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv (1978).