Le Madison

Happening on July 1st 2009 @ W139, Amsterdam

Watch the video

Remake: Le Madison

in Video and video installations


: Luc van Esch, Tashi Iwaoka, Sarah van Lamsweerde

Cameras/Dancing lessons

: Krzysztof Wegiel, Julias Willms


: Alex Ivanov, Assen Ivanov, Svebor Kranjc, Krzysztof Wegiel, Julias Willms

Light setting

: Paul Schimmel

Audio recording

: Alvin van Veen

Audio mastering

: Martin Siewert

Live music

: Westhell5, www.westhell.nl

Exhibition setting

: Exhibition Belvedere @ W139 by Bernd Trasberger

Thanks to

: Miriam Bajtala, Andrea Bozic, Gijs Frieling, Wolfgang Oblasser, Rudi Palme, Sabien Schütte, Marleen van der Weerd, Julia Willms, Annette Wolfsberger

Special thanks to all participants!

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© Open Call for Participation Le Madison

Le Madison

The Madison is the name of a line dance that came to Europe from the USA at the beginning of the 1960s, spread chiefly via film. The dance consists of a predetermined combination of steps by dancers who move without touching each other while standing alongside one another in a line—coolness gone Swing, so to speak.
Annja Krautgasser’s adaptation of the Madison theme is an allusion to a famous scene in the 1964 film Bande à part (Band of Outsiders) by Jean-Luc Godard, and so also to the medium responsible for the dance’s popularity in Europe in the early 1960s. In the scene concerned, one of the key scenes of the film, the three main characters Odile, Franz, and Arthur break into the Madison in a Paris bistro as if they were the only people there.

The isolation as a group within the social corpus that they also experience as outsiders is expressed in the particular form of the Madison: as a line dance it is carried out by several participants at the same time, although each person involved does so in isolation and not with a partner as a direct counterpart.

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© Documnetation Le Madison, @ W139 Amsterdam. Photo: Simon Wald-Lasowski

The venue for Annja Krautgasser’s remake of the scene is an Amsterdam art space that provides the institutional framework of a white cube characterised by the then current intervention The Cartesian Grid by the artist Bernd Trasberger. In this work, the neutrality of the art space is exaggerated by a rational white grid while also being broken to the extent that Trasberger also introduced items from older art projects to allude to social utopianism. So Krautgasser’s intervention also contains utopian potential when the venue for her project is a context that is both abstract and occupied by concrete utopian ideas. Le Madison was performed with a live band and with about forty dancers who had answered an online call for participants and studied the steps in advance. In contrast to the original film scene, it was the collective experience and shared knowledge about and in the dance that were in the foreground. In performing the re-enactment, there is a shift in the approach as it opens up towards a larger social context, so suggesting the symbolic opening up of an art space—i.e. to a form of institutional critique.

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© Documnetation Le Madison, @ W139 Amsterdam. Photo: Simon Wald-Lasowski

It is less of a direct political message of the kind seen in Adrian Piper’s Funk Lessons, 1982, where the artist showed a white audience how to dance to Afro-American funk music to redirect racist prejudice into cultural understanding. The intention shifts in Krautgasser’s piece more onto a level of (self-) reflection to the extent that here the authorship and the role of the artist are posited by an implicit adoption of distance.
(Patricia Grzonka)

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© Video still Bande à part (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)

Le Madison, W139, NL-Amsterdam, 2009

No: 09-006

Supported by:






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, Warmoesstraat 139, 1012JB Amsterdam

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Le Madison Lessons 1 - 3

3 bzw. 4 Video-Tanzlektionen auf YouTube, à 4 min, 2009

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© Videostills Le Madison Lessons 1 - 3

YouTube Links:

Call for participation

: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/watch?v=j4Kf4CdvH34

Le Madison Lesson 1

: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/watch?v=QyvEFpmWrYs

Le Madison Lesson 2

: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/watch?v=ZecBDJG9voc

Le Madison Lesson 3

: http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/watch?v=_rHFZNcbXiE

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© Videostills Le Madison Lessons 1 - 3

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© Videostills Le Madison Lessons 1 - 3