Fondazione ICA Milano presents CHARLES ATLAS. OMINOUS, GLAMOROUS, MOMENTOUS, RIDICULOUS, the first solo exhibition dedicated by an Italian institution to Charles Atlas (St. Louis, 1949), internationally renowned filmmaker and video-artist. Curated by Alberto Salvadori and developed in close collaboration with Charles Atlas, the exhibition presents new and recent works alongside historical pieces, contextualizing the most significant periods of the artist’s oeuvre in an installation that will transform the foundation into an immersive environment.
Atlas is well known for his innovative and groundbreaking video-based practice. For more than forty years he has explored the dialogue between different disciplines such as video, dance, and performance. His work has stretched the boundaries of film and video, incorporing installations, documentaries, works for television, multimedia projects, and live performances.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Atlas moved to New York in the 1970’s to pursue filmmaking. His first experience was with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, where he eventually became the company’s filmmaker-in-residence. Between 1974 and 1983, Atlas worked with Cunningham, developing a new hybrid language that he defined as media-dance or dance for camera in which choreographies are conceived and performed specifically for the camera.
Often the camera moved in synchrony with the dancing body, breaking down the traditional static nature of dance captured on film.
In 1983 Atlas left Cunningham’s company to expand his production with other artists; collaborations have included prominent artists, dancers, musicians, and poets, such as Karole Armitage, Michael Clark, DANCENOISE, Douglas Dunn, Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, and Marina Abramović, as well as more recently Mika Tajima, Anohni, and Lady Bunny. Presented in this exhibition are selected videos and films Atlas made with many of these long-time collaborators such as Locale, Blue Studio, and Channels Inserts, well-known works he made with Cunningham, as well as Hail the New Puritan, a film he made with dancer/choreographer Michael Clark, and The Legend of Leigh Bowery, a documentary on fashion designer/performer Leigh Bowery, among others.