NEW YORK CITY:  On September 21, the New York-based, Mexico-born performance artist and scholar Pablo Helguera kicks off his ambitious year-long project, The Well-Tempered Exposition, at Location One, located at 23 Greene Street in downtown SoHo in New York City.

Location One‘s 2011-2012 Senior Artist-in-Residence, Helguera is putting together a series of 24 events in which he and changing groups of musicians, artists and performers will translate Johann Sebastian Bach’s legendary classical fugue masterpiece “Well-Tempered Clavier” into works of performance art. The series will visit multiple venues and involve scores of participants before its conclusion next summer, also at Location One.

Logo for Pablo Helguera's "The Well Tempered Exhibition" at Location One
Logo for Pablo Helguera's "The Well Tempered Exhibition" at Location One

According to a press release, the project will launch with a workshop of creative participants leading to a performance that includes performance of the focal “Clavier” pieces by concert pianist Beatriz Helguera before the performance. “Exposition of the creative process behind the ‘translation’ will be woven into the performance, the prepared statement added.

Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier was written as a textbook for musicians to learn the form of the fugue in all major and minor keys of the piano,” says Helguera. “One can find correlations with the format of the fugue and speech because during Bach’s time there was a theoretical relationship between those two disciplines. Basing ourselves on that, we will translate the Clavier into spoken events. As we do this, we hope to also develop a textbook of sorts for speech- based performance.”

Each performance will be formed by original selections from the World Trade Center along with their performative reinterpretation. Helguera’s past work has been characterized by strong views about the nature of creative expression and the interactions of art, culture and society, expressed vividly music, humor, visual image, debate and the full range of performative art forms.

Here is the year-long schedule for Helguera’s Well-Tempered Exposition.

September 21, 2011 7pm Prelude (project launch), Location One
November 18, 2011 Book I, part one, Location One (as part of Performa 2011-sponsored by Franklin Furnace)
February, 2012 Book I, part two, Berlin
May, 2012 Book I, part three, Havana Biennial, Cuba
June, 2012 Book II part one, Mexico City
September, 2012 Book II part two and final at Location One

The Nov. 18 event is part of Performa 11, and Franklin Furnace wishes to acknowledge The SHS Foundation’s gift in honor of Ruth Hardinger for support of Pablo Helguera’s The Well-Tempered Exposition: Book I” at Location One.

Born in Mexico City, 1971, Pablo Helguera lives and works in New York. He works in the fields of pedagogy, literature, musical composition, and theater. His projects have included performance lectures, scripted symposia, and panel discussions with or without the knowledge of the audience, as well as a variety of experimental formats of verbal presentation.

Helguera’s works have been presented in many venues such as the Liverpool Biennial, Performa 05, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, ICA in Boston, MoMA, among others. His play The Juvenal Players, produced by Grand Arts in Kansas City, was presented at The Kitchen in 2010. His orchestral work Endingness was performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin.

He is the author of more than 10 books including Theatrum Anatomicum (and other performance lectures), a collection of performative works. His social practice project The School of Panamerican Unrest (2006) consisted in the creation of a nomadic schoolhouse that traveled by land throughout the Americas from Alaska to Chile, presenting collaborative performance and civic events in over 26 cities. He has been recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Creative Capital Grant; and in 2011 was named the first winner of the International Award for Participatory Art of the Regione Emilia Romagna in Italy. As educator, Helguera has worked in museums for over two decades, currently working as Director of Adult and Academic Programs at The Museum of Modern Art. He is the Pedagogical Curator of the 8th Mercosul Biennial, opening in September 2011.

Born in Mexico City and based in Chicago, the pianist Beatriz Helguera studied with Maria Teresa Rodriguez, one of Mexico’s foremost pianists , at the National Conservatory of Music, and graduated obtaining the Concert Pianist Diploma. She also holds a Master Degree in Piano Performance from the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU (Southern Methodist University). She received the Meadows Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award and the Epstein B’nai Brith Award. With her husband, cellist Andrew Snow, she is the founder of the Chicago Pan-American Ensemble, a group that engages some of Chicago’s finest musicians and performs the traditional repertoire of trios, quartets and quintets with a blend of classical Latin American and American music. –RG

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