The work of Shelley Lasica reveals a sustained exploration of dance, movement and the varying contexts in which they can occur. WHEN I AM NOT THERE has been produced to accompany a performance exhibition reflecting on forty years of Lasica’s choreographic practice. Held at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (15–27 August 2022), WHEN I AM NOT THERE is the first Australian survey of its kind. Centring on a new ensemble work that Melbourne-based Lasica has developed with a team of ten other artists – Lydia Connolly-Hiatt, Luke Fryer, Timothy Harvey, Rebecca Jensen, Megan Payne, Lisa Radford, Lana Šprajcer, Oliver Savariego, François Tétaz and Colby Vexler – it also presents components from Lasica’s archive of earlier works, including costuming, objects, soundscapes and text.
Consolidating ideas and experiments that Lasica has been developing throughout her career, WHEN I AM NOT THERE contributes to discussions around choreography in the gallery space and activates the tension between what it means ‘to perform’ and ‘to exhibit’. Edited by the project’s curator, Hannah Mathews, in conversation with Lasica, this substantial monograph is the first to be published on an Australian choreographer. It provides a comprehensive account of Lasica’s performance and exhibition history and uncovers extensive documentation from the artist’s archive, alongside contributions by writers Erin Brannigan, Justin Clemens, Claudia La Rocco, Robyn McKenzie and Zoe Theodore.
Shelley Lasica is a 2021 recipient of an Australia Council Dance Fellowship. WHEN I AM NOT THERE is realised as part of Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum, an ARC research project that involves the following partners: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; MUMA, Melbourne; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Tate, UK; and UNSW Sydney. The exhibition and book provides this overarching project with critical and situated research focused on the curation and practice of choreography in the museum environment.