As part of the exhibition by DAS INSTITUT, their frequent collaborator, artist Ei Arakawa presented a performance with Hawaiian dance group Hālau Hula O Na Mele ‘Āina O Hawai’i. Linking the two Galleries, the evening performance took place in the context of Hilma af Klint’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery. Throughout the afternoons of Friday 29 and Saturday 30 April, performance interventions also took place within the DAS INSTITUT exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery at 2, 3, 4 and 5pm each day.
Recent collaborative work by DAS INSTITUT and Arakawa has been inspired by Big Island, Hawaii, and Pele, a Hawaiian volcano goddess. For this evening, several dancers from Hālau Hula O Na Mele ‘Āina O Hawai’i (including Arakawa) carried a special carpet made by DAS INSTITUT into the exhibition space of Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen, as a temporal stage. An hour-long presentation of rarely-seen, ancient dance was performed in and out of paintings, legends and architecture. A translation of the Hawaiian chants was provided.
Hālau Hula O Na Mele ‘Āina O Hawai’i first opened its doors in New York City in May 1968 under the guidance of Luana Haraguchi. The halau’s name was given by her teacher, Iolani Luahine. The halau practices the traditional style of hula and protocols, the ancient style of hula, known as the kahiko. Haraguchi also emphasises the learning of the chant or `oli of each dance that is learned. Previous performance include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2015); MAXXI, Rome (2015); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015) and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York (2015).
Ei Arakawa has developed an extensive and international performance practice involving friends, random passers-by and other artists. His performances inject unexpected situations into existing structures, opening both of them to new meaning. His work has previously been seen in the Gwangju Biennial (2014); Whitney Biennial, New York (2014); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2013); the Pavilion of Georgia at the 55th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia (2013); Tate Modern, London (2012); the 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012).