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John Wood and Paul Harrison | Very Clear Instructions


The Contemporary Art Gallery and Ballet BC present the world premiere performance of ‘Very Clear Instructions’ in partnership with The Polygon Gallery.

Following the exhibition ‘I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT’ presented at CAG at the beginning of 2016, John Wood and Paul Harrison embarked on an intensive sequence of improvisatory workshops with the dancers of Ballet BC. What emerged is an ambitious commission developed between two of Vancouver’s most important cultural organizations, a new dance work that brings together the ongoing concerns present in the artist’s practice, combined with new, adventurous choreography.

As seen in their complex video works, Wood and Harrison have long been concerned with the body, characteristically employing a vocabulary that connects into the spatial and material world of contemporary dance. They engage with attributes such as trust, cause and effect, action and reaction, and the physical arena and dimensions in which movement and gesture occurs with distinctive observations surrounding the human condition.

This new performance is structured as ten episodes such as “Falling”, “Right angles” or “Lean”, and combines much of their ongoing preoccupations with a keen delight, humour and reflection on human endeavor. Rooted in a distillation of everyday gestures and routine, a true conversation between the visual art world of John Wood and Paul Harrison and that of the dance corps of Ballet BC emerges. The familiar is made charmingly and compellingly strange, altering our perceptions of those moments encountered as we move through the world.

Very Clear Instructions created by John Wood and Paul Harrison, featuring the artists of Ballet BC.

Commissioned by the Contemporary Art Gallery with Ballet BC and produced in partnership with The Polygon Gallery. Support for the research and development phase was provided by the Kickstarter community in partnership with Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative. We are grateful to the many individual donors and supporters who have made this ambitious commission possible at both the development stage and for this premiere.