Scenes from the city

By MARCIA B. SIEGEL  |  April 8, 2008

Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan was in town Thursday to give two performances of Images from Wind Shadow, in the “Works and Process” series at the Guggenheim Museum, as an adjunct to the Guggenheim’s Cai Guo-Qiang retrospective, which runs through May 28. The whole exhibit was closed Thursday, but to judge from the cascade of white cars suspended in the Guggenheim’s rotunda, each one impaled with spears like a wounded bull, and the pack of wolves glimpsed running up one of the ramps, Cai and Cloud Gate’s introspective artistic director, Lin Hwai-min, are of opposing temperaments. But their collaboration made for a gorgeous visual pageant.

People ran through the museum with huge white flags, sometimes lit by projected explosions. Figures clad head to foot in black shadowed other figures and later scrabbled over the floor like spiders. There were fireworks effects and the sound of bombardment, or thunder. Drops of rain, or blood, appeared to splash on the floor.

In conversation with curator Alexandra Munroe, Lin explained that Wind Shadow isn’t about explicit “Chinese-ness,” but everything the dancers did had the flow of Chinese calligraphy. I’d say too that the dualities of the piece, its overlapping of nature and artifice, violence and beauty, expressed a sensibility more ancient than ours — and maybe more wise.

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