Director/Choreographer Maria Hassabi performs SoloShow, the second work of a diptych at Performance Space 122 (PS122), November 12, 2009, East Village, New York CityOver the past two years, Maria Hassabi, the Athenian born New York-based choreographer, created two autonomous evening-long solos conceived as a diptych: Solo and SoloShow, while in-residence at Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University and during a creative residency at Performing Art Forum in St. Ermes, France.  The works were co-commissioned by Performance Space 122 (PS122), Performa 09, French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

Directed and choreographed by Hassabi and performed alternately with Hristoula Harakas, the second work of the diptych, SoloShow, premiered on November 12th at PS122’s upstairs gallery.  On a matte black rectangular plinth, Hassabi held poses for as long as 20 to 80 seconds, captivating the audience by near stillness.  As she moved from one pose to another, a voice-over and ambient sound played in tones from low to almost inaudible.  Suspended vertically overhead, floodlights accentuated the sculptural forms she created with her body.  The poses ran the gamut of Western art forms.  Some conjured ancient Greek sculptures of Praxtiteles, others drew purely from classical ballet contours, and more dynamic sections summoned a fashion shoot straight out of Antonioni’s Blow-Up.  Like the British art duo Gilbert & George in their 1970s Living Sculptures performances – the artists painted in gold, themselves the sculpture – Hassabi eliminated the distinction between artist and art.

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