Still, this summer the secret is well and truly out as Harrell is here with his Hoochie Koochie show at the Barbican until mid-August.
Intrigued visitors negotiate their own way through the gallery space, exploring live and filmed stage installations. Invited to choose from three or four compositions to watch at a time, they weave through performances given by eighteen dancers – including Harrell himself.
The Hoochie Koochie title comes from the style of dance referenced in Harrell’s latest piece, Caen Amour.
Hoochie Koochie shows were exotic and seductive belly-dance spectacles which originated in the late 19th century and evolved to become part of travelling fairs across America. Remembering his father’s visits to such extravaganzas, Harrell uses Caen Amour to investigate – and ultimately blur the boundaries between – public and private, performer and spectator.
Also featured is his best-known work, a series created from 2009 to 2013 called Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church.
Trajal Harrell, Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem, photo Paula Court
Inspired by an assortment of dance styles and the language of the catwalk, Harrell’s artistic modus operandi sees him create dialogues between ideas and movements by imagining how historical events could have happened differently.
His work features influences from the likes of Japanese Butoh dancing, postmodern dance, modern dance, Classical Greek dancing, erotic dancing, belly-dancing and the art of voguing (imitating the characteristic poses struck by models on the fashion runway). A similarly eclectic range of musical genres is also evident in Harrell’s approach as he uses classical, pop and contemporary in his soundscapes.
Before the exhibition opened, Harrell said: 'One of the really exciting aspects of a performance exhibition of this scope is that the work born in the past comes alive in the future. (…) So, in this incredible context of Barbican Art Gallery, this is, truly, something only of this moment.'
Why not seize this opportunity to engage and live in the moment?
Age Guidance: Parental guidance advised (includes nudity, as well as some explicit imagery). Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.
|What||Trajal Harrell, Hoochie Koochie, Barbican|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barking (underground)|
20 Jul 17 – 13 Aug 17, No fixed dur. Thurs-Sun 14:00 to 21:00, Sat & Sun 12:00 to 18:00
|Price||£12.50 (concessions available)|
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican website|