Modern dance started when, at the beginning of the 20th century, we discovered the bare-footed dance in Europe. To strip the feet stated a new orientation, away from the classical aesthetics and ballet shoes. In dance the foot becomes an essential means of expression and a tool charged with a high symbolic value.
The exhibition of "feet of contemporary choreographers" by Lisa Rastl and Willi Dorner presents dance artists in relationship with their extremities of which Mathilde Monnier says: "La dance, c’est le pied" – Dancing means the feet. The feet of these excellent contemporary choreographers make up a series, showing those of famous colleagues such as Steve Paxton, Meg Stuart, Mark Tompkins, Lloyd Newson, Alain Platel or Nir Ben Gal, forming a kind of picture text about dance.
Each of the persons portrayed chose a special position or movement in his mind, or improvised, when he posed for the photographer. The black African Koffi Koko wanted to stand on a natural soil to demonstrate his close attachment to the earth. Nir Ben Gal was washing his feet when the picture was taken. Amanda Miller looked at hers, in front of the camera lens and uttered laconically and ambiguously: "My feet are big!" Rastl, the photographer and Dorner, the choreographer, did not want to show the feet in action on the stage, apart from Jérôme Bel who explicitly wanted a mise en scene among the theatre plush.
The exhibition does not present dance photos but attempts to capture the characters of the respective artists. This is underlined by the short comments which were given during the photo sessions. What kind of relation do the choreographers have with the vulnerable limbs they use every day in a very different way to everybody else? The results are very individual and sometimes quite stunning. Some attitudes are meant in earnest. Susanne Linke stresses the capability of the dancer to talk to his feet "as seriously as to all his body". Wim Vandekeybus is more ironic when he says: "Feet are as important as a cunt, just that you have two of them." Very often, a foot says more than a thousand words.