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An image of a book cover featuring a gray-haired woman in the woods standing in front of a tall, dark, mossy, stump. The stump is taller than the woman.A one-page preview featuring an image and text. The image at the top of the page is of a roll of white gauze being unrolled from the center on a black background. The text reads: "content often diverge. The telling of the event becomes a scene of projections and of other rich subjective disclosures but also a means for the witnesses to question the nature of their own seeing. Phenomenological detail is clearly consuming and seemingly infinite in these narrations; the flesh of each witness has been enfolded into the performers' entwining. Observation turns granular. A genuine accident within the live performance - the smashing of an opaque glass of water-ricochets through the retellings: within every event there is some other purer event, more vibrant and more real and more urgently told. These micro-events-elevated in perception-seem to suggest that the act of communal swallowing itself was securitized by its occurrence as a privately received ritual. Home sanctions such risks. Rhythm and tempo are recurrent witness' concerns, and the description of the performers' parting seems over too quickly for many. The freight of this separation-for some too much to countenance—is sadness at the withdrawal from a state of interconnectedness and visceral proximity, which has quickly accrued idealization. The affinity between Antoni and Petronio troubles articulation, and cannot be mapped onto familiar dyads of romantic investment or artistic collaboration. In each telling there is always a punctum, a small observed detail that becomes a conduit for a stream of realizations. I ask each witness what they will remember of the act, and here in the very process of the archival capture of that memory lives the most hesitation, doubt and ingenuity of response. In conceiving the act as destined to disappear, the artists have also given it potential, animated its afterlives through a social discourse whose plurality will drive its continued retelling. One late afternoon in the last week of November 2015, Antoni performs Paper Dance for Halprin on the dance deck. It is a year since our last weeklong visit to Kentfield, and over three years since Antoni began to carefully entangle her work with Halprin's. Although she improvises the performance on each occasion, Antoni has accumulated a repertoire of gestural images and sculptural possibilities from her earlier labors with the paper. Physical fragments will be played out, differentiating themselves in the unfolding of the event. Before dusk falls, Hugo Glendinning will shoot the first full video recording of the work, stabilizing it in time in wholly other ways. Since our last visit, Antoni's Paper Dance has grown in length and detail through numerous discussions and re-workings. A flexible dramaturgy is emerging where specific image-events are sequenced in relation to the developing state"A one-page preview of two images and text. The two images are next to one another at the top of the page. The image on the left is of a woman with long, wild hair. She is kneeling on a wooden deck in the forest and is holding tan fabric, which appears to be yards long. Where the woman is holding the fabric, it appears to be bunched and she is cradling it as if an infant is wrapped up in the fabric. The image on the right is in the same location and the photo is of a mostly naked woman (her top is covered) She is wearing bits of the tan fabric messily on her head and between her legs with more bits of fabric scattered behind her on either side. The text reads: "form would form. At stake here is a radical ecological aesthetic of indeterminate entities, where body and material re-enfold to invent new forms of expressive life. The struggle with the matter of things is a making of fresh capacities of relation with materials, a testing of their givenness and its limits, but also an attempt to become more than one with things. In this regard Antoni proceeds in a long line of feminist artists whose goal is self-actualization through differentiation. Paper Dance can also be read as an experimental practice of freedom, where freedom is not a property of a subject but an unfolding encounter in the making. January 2016, Sydney, Australia: writing alone, from afar. What is being surfaced and furthered in Antoni and Halprin's relation is a feminist genealogy of art making, enacted through a trans- generational cross-form dialogue. But the nature of this genealogy's emergence in particular ecological conditions and its engagement with materials makes me want to rethink its cultural and historical force. Such a genealogy is composed of the entwined discursive filaments of artists and their works. Affinity here is not just "influence," not a simple identification between present subjects: when thought historically and materially it folds absent figures and immaterial forces into itself. None of the persons or articulations in such genealogies is an originary or unitary influence; rather they are carriers of investments, intensities and expressions. These spirited affinities, of which the Antoni-Halprin relation is just one intensification, cross historical epochs, distinct cultures and belief systems, and come in and out of critical currency and visibility at different times. Nonetheless, they act as sustaining forces in the fostering of new lives and work. What I am calling spirited affinity is not necessarily passing through institutional validation, systems of knowledge or even conscious recognition on the part of participants, though it may have contact with these powers. Above all, it is not a correspondence of likeness, but a kind of empathy across and within different and differentiating situations that generates a habitat of making. In this regard a genealogy of spirited affinity might be thought as constituted by a trans-historical (or in the Antoni-Halprin case a trans-generational) "ecology of practices," to use a term coined by Isabelle Stengers." These are shared habitats of thinking-doing-feeling that foster and challenge their participants, creating new techniques of making. An ecology of practices is an open set"A one-page preview of text reading "is the repository of those archetypal images, species memories, and associations that haunt myths, fairy tales and our collective dreams. The capacity to vitalize inanimate objects is essential to creating metaphor, symbols, and art. Such imagery can represent the immaterial, and the immaterial can manifest in the material. The wine and the wafer can, for believers, "become" the body and blood of Christ, not just a stand-in for the idea, but rather, the thing itself—an agreed-upon "transubstantiation" of the ephemeral. Artists such as Janine Antoni consciously choose to evoke this spiritual and psychological dimension that, in some, manifests before the ability to differentiate the real from the imagined. The work of such artists can compel us with its beauty or performativity. It can also strike a deep cord, tapping into a moment in the individual and collective psyche that catapults viewers far back into an early childhood memory of complete dependence that some would rather avoid. With wit and determination, Antoni approaches these collective obsessions that focus on objects and their transubstantiation through projection and animism, attempting to deep-dive into the unconscious and reemerge from the process, back into the world. Rarely have artists revealed their internal process so deliberately or allowed us to be so close to their actual intention. Because the work is both overtly about this subject matter and also carefully, dramatically, and at times humorously executed, we are disarmed and seduced into safely journeying with her into this primal, precarious, and intimate terrain. In the Beginning An interviewer asked Antoni: "Does your art help you cope with your separation anxiety?" "My art is all about separation anxiety. I'm obviously working on that issue," Antoni responded." In her early photographic staging of Momme (1995), Antoni mischievously plays with the post-Freudian assumption prevalent in Western and other archetypal systems of thought that there is a collective desire to return to the womb - "the original home," "the uterine paradise," and "the nocturnal bliss of sleep in the unconscious." In Antoni's image the artist's own mother gazes dreamily out a living room window while Antoni hides under her skirt. She rests her head on her mother's lap, creating a bulge so that her mother appears pregnant. One of her long legs sticks out from the garment joining those of her mother resting on the floor. Her mother, complicit in this provocative prank, appears resolved and calm, as in some Renaissance paintings depicting the biblical Annunciation. But Mary's gaze in such paintings can also, at times, convey shock, fear, or incredulity; most often it is filled with patient resignation and humility. The Child is expected. Mary will be the mother. God himself is the Father. All is as it should be. This atmosphere of resolve appears again in Antoni's depiction. Never one to deliberately mystify her sources, Antoni discussed this provocative image in a 2001 interview with the Aldrich Foundation. She referenced the famous Leonardo da Vinci drawing, Madonna and Child with St. Anne. In the foreground of one of Da Vinci's many versions of this image, the Christ Child plays with a small lamb (in another version of the drawing, Da Vinci places John the Baptist as a child in place of the lamb). Mary sits on the"A one-page preview of a page with two images, each with their own description underneath. Each of the images are of artworks; the first one is a still from a video where a naked adult human figure is in the fetal position in what appears to be a tunnel. The figure is backlit by a golden circular light at the end of the tunnel. The second image is a white, marble sculpture of an upside down human head resting on an upside down garden pot.

Hirmer Publishers and The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Ally: Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, Stephen Petronio



Reflecting on The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s 2016 performance and installation-based exhibition, Ally, this richly illustrated volume captures the series of remarkable collaborative artworks instigated by visual artist Janine Antoni, in collaboration with FWM; dance-maker and community activist Anna Halprin; and choreographer Stephen Petronio. The caliber of Ally‘s creative, documentary and critical contributors, together with the intensely focused nature of the photographic content comprise this powerful extended visual essay.

Hardcover, 224 pages / color
Editor: Adrian Heathfield
Designer: David Caines

Contributors: Jacquelynn Baas, Carol Becker, Helene Cixous, Adrian Heathfield, Richard Move, and foreword by Susan Lubowsky Talbott.

ISBN 978-3-7774-2952-6

About The Exhibition

A woman performing in a gallery. She is laying on her back, with her right arm and right leg stretched upward towards the ceiling. She is wrapped up in several yards of brown packing paper. In the foreground you can see a black bra laying on the floor and off to the side is a large roll of brown packing paper. In the background you can see one guest watching the performance.


April 21, 2016–July 31, 2016

Ally is a series of works combining sculpture, installation, film, and performance among Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, and Stephen Petronio. The trio investigates the translation of ideas across forms and the vast potential that lies in their relations. The book, Ally, is a culmination of the project and is a collaborative process that is seen by the artists as one of the many works emerging from their artistic engagement.