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Solange's new art book offers a rare window into her creative process

exist182, on the last weekend of the Venice Biennale – a glittering art exhibition held every other year in the historic Italian city – Solange Knowles is gearing up to stage the latest in a series of ambitious, site-specific performances in spectacular settings, including the Herzog and de Meuron-designed Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg and the Los Angeles Cover at Sunset Tee Center. In Venice, she was preparing to perform Students of the Past and Smiles

when the city suffered a series of biblical storms that flooded many exhibition spaces , and forced Knowles to move her work indoors three days before opening.

Through the medium of voice, movement and clothing, Past students and smiles Above all, a work about conservation—both self-preservation and the act of protecting those around you—and among Knowles’ tight-knit group of collaborators, when they adjust at the last minute This bond becomes even tighter as they work to adapt to their new environment. If anything, the intensity of the experience made the final product feel more emotionally intense, whether it was courtesy of a “gatekeeper” – a group of young black women from across Europe were invited to participate, their movements choreographed to reflect The community spirit of the work – or the melodies of free jazz and contemporary classical music written, written and arranged by Knowles and led by drummer John Key, served as the soundtrack to the performance.

Solanges New Art Book Offers a Rare Window Into Her Creative Process

“The still photography documentation has always been very important,” Knowles said, adding that Projects are transformed into more tangible and lasting forms. “In order for the work to live on, be archived and shared throughout history, I actually had us redo the performance without the audience to capture how the energy of the performance was transformed. The sense of protection, when just performing for us, was more of a celebration for us. We could feel this energy transfer very, very, very clearly.”