Sigh, a performance at the Bloomberg Space

Gervais Cedric Nojonga Bitjoka and Jordan Johnhope performed last night at the Bloomberg Space upon invitation by Anthea Hamilton whose exhibition ‘LET’S GO’ is viewable until September 14th, 2013.

Gervais Cedric Njonga Bitjoka (right) and Jordan Johnhope (left) performing 'Sigh' on 21 August 2013 (full moon) at Bloomberg Space during Anthea Hamilton's exhibition 'LET'S GO'

Gervais Cedric Njonga Bitjoka (right) and Jordan Johnhope (left) performing ‘Sigh’ on 21 August 2013 (full moon) at Bloomberg Space during Anthea Hamilton’s exhibition ‘LET’S GO’

Like a Noh play, the performance is divided in 5 sequences that in this case coincide with the key phases of the moon. Njonga Bitjoka choreographed the performance and composed part of the music. It echoes Anthea Hamilton performance at Tate tanks in 2012 entitled ‘Kabuki’. Here, male performers do not wear kimonos but hakama pants and karate jackets she designed.

The performers’ faces remain motionless throughout a choreography orchestrated in easy-to-follow sequences. They seem to be transported by a trance, carried away by the hip-hop rhythm. The fluidity of the performance is striking and gives it an ethereal and truly pictorial dimension. The moon is central to Bitjoka’s work. For him, to star-gaze and to appreciate the moon’s beauty represents a state of private contemplation. Like in the Noh theatre he embodies a character, the moon, so often linked to femininity, blurring the gender boundaries.

Gervais Cedric Njonga Bitjoka (right) and Jordan Johnhope (left) performing 'Sigh' on 21 August 2013 (full moon) at Bloomberg Space during Anthea Hamilton's exhibition 'LET'S GO'

Gervais Cedric Njonga Bitjoka (right) and Jordan Johnhope (left) performing ‘Sigh’ on 21 August 2013 (full moon) at Bloomberg Space during Anthea Hamilton’s exhibition ‘LET’S GO’

Anthea Hamilton’s installation gives a dimension to the performance that may not have been offered in a white cube space. The 7 meter high wallpaper that mimics vertical blinds does echo the Japanese fusuma dividing the outside and the inside of an habitat. It may seem that we remain in quite the same repertoire if it were not for the homage to Robert Crumb, a hairy gargantuan woman that happily appears on the wall spreading her hideousness around. The massive presence of this figure makes her appear like a sort of deity during the performance and this fact by itself makes the collaboration between the artists even more rounded as Hamilton’s practice does consist largely in antagonising the nice and the nasty making them play at the same level field in an awkwardly confortable way.

LET’S GO, Bloomberg Space until September 14th, 2013

Other performances:

Half moon (3rd quarter), August 28th, 2013 at 7PM

Half moon (1st quarter), September 13th, 2013 at 7PM

Text and images: Reine Okuliar

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