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In this passage, the spirit wears a body in constant transformation.

My story

Christina Elias (1978) is a visual artist and performer based in São Paulo. Working on the borders between visual arts, dance and literature, she explores the tensions that arise from the confrontation between text and movement, nature and culture, individual and environment, spirit and materiality, body and object. Performance, in the artist's work, expands to other means as a process and poetics: canvases, drawings, photography, video, installation, textile objects are expansions of her practice and discourse of the body, which is constructed upon principles of contemporary dance and Butoh, as well as on thoughts about a ghostly Feminine in the contemporary society and about vulnerability as power. With a master's degree in movement studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London) and specialization in literature from the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin), her passions are writing and dancing, activities that, together, the artist pursues as a feminist practice.

Since 2011, Christina has carried out several artistic projects, solo and relational, in museums, galleries and cultural centers mainly in Brazil, where she currently lives, such as Museu da Língua Portuguesa, MAM-SP, MIS-SP, Paço das Artes, among others, and in Europe, where she lived, worked and studied for 14 years such as MAXXI Roma, Radialsystem Berlin, Uferstudios Berlin among others. Awards: FUNARTE MULHERES NA ARTES VISUALS 2013. ALDIR BLANC VISUAL ARTS BY CAREER HISTORY 2020. FUNARTE RESPIRARTE 2020. Collections: Luciano Benetton, MAC/USP (Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo), MARP (Museu of Art of Ribeirão Preto) and MUNA/UFU (University Art Museum of the Federal University of Uberlândia).

Christina is also a researcher, having completed a PhD in Design at Anhembi Morumbi University, in which she analyzes her creative process according to the Japanese concept of Ma (empty), and a Post-Doctorate in Communication and Semiotics at PUC-SP, where she developed the Women and metamorphoses project, an online platform for workshops and performances by women.

The body

Graduated in Classical ballet and modern dance by SIWA Ballet (São Paulo) and graduated from Largo São Francisco Law School (USP), until a certain point in her life, she believed that writing and dancing were mutually exclusive activities. Later, in London in the context of the MA in Movement Studies, she became interested in techniques forcontemporary dance and somatic movement until finding Butô, which incorporated as a phisical and conceptual art of deconstruction of patterns, whether those of the dance techniques themselves or of society. During this period, she had the opportunity to experience the body practice of artists and movement directors such as Susan Klein, Helen Hislip, Ayse Tashkiran, Vanessa Ewan, Martin Gruber, Minako Seki, Yuko Kaseki, Simei Che. In 2011, she completed an internship as assistant director to German choreographer Sasha Walz during the production of the dance opera Matsukaze. In 2012, she met the artist and Butô master Tetsuro Fukuhara in Rome, with whom she maintains a constant dialogue and partnership.

From these experiences, she expanded her understanding of movement and writing and developed her own method of body narrative. This method, which is called SACRO-CRANIAL EXPRESSION, has as its core principle the idea that all movement starts from the spinal column and that any movement in limbs or in space is a reflection of this. The sacral-cranial movement changes in quality, shape and consistency depending on the region in the spine in which it originates. This way of thinking about the body is based on the following movement techniques:

 

Bartenieff's Fundamentals_

Connections between parts of the body, with the environment, space and other people. Based on connectivity patterns of the body, this system suggests a process of rerooting through a regressive visit to movement development patterns, demystifying dualities such as inside and outside, intention and expression, wanting and acting, body and mind... and offers a clear understanding of how the body is our living instrument, always making connections. Through its application to movement, adults have the opportunity to choose to return to remember aspects of their movement that were forgotten when integrated into larger movement patterns in the normal process of growth and development.

 

BMC – Body Mind Centering_

Consciousness permeates the entire body.In this method, the premise is that the physical body and mind are a complementary unit. The two operate as linked systems to compose the entire body, in a continuous process without chronological or linear order. There is an abandonment of dualistic Cartesianism to understand that movement as well as thought emerge from the body-mind together and at the same time. Created by the American Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen more than 40 years ago, this method prioritizes the understanding and analysis of movement based on the systemic experience of the body and synesthetics of space.

 

Chakra theory_

Chakras are wheels or energy centers distributed along the vertical axis of the body.(from the base of the spine to the top of the head). There are 7 chakras that connect to 7 elements in the body that alternate in designing behavioral tendencies and different qualities of movement:

  • 7 – consciousness (thought) – transformation of “matter” into “social being”

  • 6 – intuition (light) – transformation of “matter” into “social being”

  • 5 – communication (sound) – transformation of “matter” into “social being”

  • 4 – love (air) – transformation of “matter” into “social being”

  • 3 – power (fire) – dynamic and light, moving upwards, against gravity

  • 2 – sexuality (water) – less movement resistance

  • 1 – survival (earth) – least movement resistance

 

Butoh_

The body expands outside the skin unlimitedly.Butô artists perceive their bodies and the environment as environments in a continuous flow of exchanges. The body is not just what is delimited and contained by the skin. For the vision of existence that permeates Butoh art, this  idea of the body is just an illusion. Butoh body-mind training is a path to achieving a corporeal state of connectivity, in which imaginative processes mediate a dynamic web of relationships between individual and environment, between inside and outside the limits of the skin.

This is the background with which Christina arrived in the visual arts.

MINDSET - WELTANSCHAUUNG

A thought that illuminates practice

From Bodies that Matter (1993) to the present day with Precarious Life (2004), Judith Butler has been pointing out the political and performative nature of the body and how the female body has been systematically erased by Western metaphysical thought. The body, in classical Western thought, became a ghostly figure, emptied through a process of exclusion in which representation replaces the object itself. The material body then becomes the result of the repetition over time of norms imposed by a phallocentric imperative and its materiality, an effect of power.

Butler's theory was an impulse to look for new “discourses for the body” that did not mimic these constituted power relations, but that, on the contrary, sought to deconstruct them. I understood that body discourses are metaphorical, conceptual and political and that talking about the body for the body itself has a wide-ranging activist force.

Books I have read, am reading or want to read

DELEUZE, Gilles. "Difference and repetition". Trans. Luiz Orlandi and Roberto Machado. Rio de Janeiro: São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2018.

 

DELEUZE, Gilles. "Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation". Trans. Roberto Machado. São Paulo: Zahar, 2007 [1981].

 

LE BRETON, David. "Goodbye to the body: anthropology and society". Campinas: Papirus, 2003.

 

BUTLER, Judith. "Bodies that matter". London: Routledge, 2011.

 

KUNICHI, Uno. Hijikata Tasumi: thinking about an exhausted body. Trans. C. Greiner and E. Filho. São Paulo: N-1 Edições, 2018.

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