Jennifer Monson shares her insight on how movement of the body can change the experience of art.
written by Allison Spillane
This experience was a new one. Previous shows that this class had scheduled I had some semblance of expectation, but I went into Jennifer Monson’s dance workshop having no preconceptions of what we would be doing. Having absolutely no background knowledge of dance, I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive about the activities she had in store. However, despite my fears, I found the movement in this event quite refreshing. The lense of dance really changed the way that I experienced the art.
Moving around the Krannert Art Museum with my eyes closed was one of the warm-up exercises we did. It helped to loosen us up and open the crowd to use their movement to explore the space. It was kinda nerve wracking to not be able to see where I was going, but I think the way it removed our body’s movements from our constant imaginary audience helped make the core activity more effective.
Being able to move around and being conscious of my body when looking at the artwork really changed my perspective. I was able to pay more attention to the flow of certain paintings by emulating their movement, or change the way I was looking at a piece. One piece in particular was signed by the artist at the bottom, but the signature was done upside down. Normally I wouldn’t be crawling around on a museum floor, but I thought it would be beneficial to view the signature the right side up. My entire group either turned their heads upside down or got on the floor to view the painting from the orientation of the signature. It was amazing to find that I actually liked the painting better “upside down” and to find how art could be so different when viewed through the lens of movement and dance.