Yael Davids - A Day of Practice

El Lissitzky - Proun P23, No. 6

Yael Davids A Day of Practice

11:00 - 16:00
Curators: Nick Aikens, Steven ten Thije

About the event

On 2 February Yael Davids will lead a programme in the Van Abbemuseum. The public is invited to participate in a collective process of observing, assembling, moving and learning. The day will be composed of multiple elements, including Feldenkrais lessons, readings, a screening, and vocal session. These activities will take place in the Project Room of the museum's New Building, amongst works from the Van Abbe’s collection, and is part of the artists’ long term research trajectory ‘A Daily Practice’, a collaboration between the museum and the Gerit Rietveld Academie. 

The focus of Davids' research is on somatic learning. It is inspired by the work of Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais, a physicist and engineer. The Feldenkrais Method is a school of somatically geared study that seeks to cultivate and refine physiological awareness through slow, sequential patterns of movement. The method is a form of excavating one’s own body for knowledge — an archaeological performance directed towards oneself. As part of her research trajectory, Davids has been carrying out weekly Feldenkrais classes in the Van Abbemuseum with members of the public as well as museum staff and volunteers. 

Within the context of a museum — one of whose primary tasks is to preserve and protect artworks, as well as to facilitate the history and ongoing practice of diverse methods of knowledge emergence, the Feldenkrais Method possesses a particular potential. The artworks in a museum's collection have certain protocols by which they are cared for — whether in a depot, when they are moved, or hung on walls.  Equally, the lens through which we comprehend and experience an artwork is often mediated by how others narrativise and assess the work. Beginning with one’s own body, Davids’ classes are now being conceived in relation to works from the museum’s collection. How, the research considers, might we come to relate to artworks from the perspective of bodily, rather than purely intellectual knowledge? Similarly, how might notions of care and support be considered as a shared emotional and ideological space that encompasses both our bodies and the art works within a museum's collection?

For ‘A Day of Practice’ Davids will conduct a series of Feldenkrais classes in dialogue with the work of the Russian Avantgarde artist El Lissitzky, which will be hung in the gallery. The geometric forms of his famous Proun series, the artist’s explicit instruction to allow Proun 23. No. 6 (1919) to be displayed at different orientations, and the protocols governing the artwork’s insurance and installation in regards to moving the work will be explored in dialogue with the bodily movements of the Feldenkrais method.

In addition, a series of readings by collaborators of the artist will introduce theoretical frameworks through which to re-consider ideas such as ‘measuring’, ‘support’ or even ‘friendship’. Lastly, Davids will screen ‘Liquid Traces — The Left-to-Die-Boat-Case’ (2014), part of the research project of Forensic Oceonagraphy. Here the movement and tracking of bodies takes place within the harrowing context of refugees crossing the water from the coast of Africa to Europe. Together, this constellation of knowledges, movements and protocols is imagined as a space for collective thinking and learning where relationships between bodies, ideas and conditions are set in motion.

This day is a collaboration with Nick Aikens, Yael Davids, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Sher Doruff, Moniek Frankort, Monique Hendriksen, Jenneke Lambert, Lia Moorsel, Toos Nijssen, Willy de Rooij, Steven ten Thije and Marieke Willekens and Thijs Witty.


The programme lasts from 11:00 till 16:00 with a break for lunch, the lunch is provided. Tickets costs are €15, including lunch. 

Further information about Yael davids and CrD research trajectory

Artist Yael Davids is the first candidate for the new research trajectory for artists: Creator Doctus (CrD). This research trajectory is initiated by the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum and supported by the Mondriaan Fund. As a pilot of this trajectory, Davids will develop artistic research in the period 2017 through 2019, which will result in a series of artworks.

The title Creator Doctus (CrD) is set up by the Gerrit Rietveld Academie as a new three-year research trajectory within the so-called 'third cycle' of higher education. The trajectory will result in a series of artworks, rather than a written dissertation. These answer research questions formulated by the artists within the context of framework provided by a commissioning partner, in this case the Van Abbemuseum. At the end of the three years the results are presented to an evaluation committee, the involved partners and the public. If judged sufficient the artist will be awarded the title Creator Doctus (CrD). The title will serve to help promote the degree of profession and skill of the artist. To obtain European recognition the title is developed in collaboration with several European partners.

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