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The Soul Expanding Ocean #2

Isabel Lewis  — 

  • Admission

    Free of charge

  • Opening date

  • Location

    Ocean Space

  • Curated by

    Chus Martínez


    Application deadline: Monday, June 28, 2021. Here the open call.

Isabel Lewis’s work revolves around a central question: Can the body in movement constitute an exhibition? And if yes, what are the questions that the body asks in the space? How are answers perceived and processed? And do the stories written in its movements follow lines of call and response?

The garden and the ocean have been two pivotal elements in Lewis's exhibition-choreographies. She creates a scenography and a situation where the audience can both dance with the dancers and understand specific ideas through motion. This expansion of thinking into space fosters audience immersion and imaginative engagement. The audience's experience, presence, and movement in the exhibition space work to write and rewrite storylines over an extended period. The exhibition moves in time and space together with its audience.

Ocean Space has had many lives. In the past, it was a church, a stage set for an opera, and a concert hall. Now it is an exhibition space dedicated to the ocean. This hybrid identity allows Lewis to create a new piece about Venice and the sea that is specific to the memories of San Lorenzo. Storytelling, singing, and dancing are tools to explore the history of merchants and their trade routes, encounters with cultures, indigenous traces, and tales of the city we can find at the core of Venice.

The music biennial is an ideal moment to invite an artist like Lewis to activate the space and create a work that is partly ballet, partly social sculpture, singing and dancing the histories of the seas. We look forward to collaborating with the citizens of Venice and visitors to the city to co-create this piece, hopefully at a time in which there is more freedom to move in public space. It will become an occasion to enjoy the company of many and allow for collective celebration and reflection on the future.

The Soul Expanding Ocean #2: Isabel Lewis, curated by Chus Martínez, commissioned and produced by TBA21–Academy.

Photo credit: Isabel Lewis, Urban Flourishing, Salon Suisse 2019 Slow. Opening 11th May at Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. Photo: Magali Le Mens


Isabel Lewis (1981 - Dominican Republic) trained in literary criticism, dance and philosophy. Isabel Lewis’ work takes on many different formats: from lecture-performances and workshops to listening sessions, parties (Bodysnatch), gardens, and what she calls “hosted occasions.” She has created works around open source technology and dance improvisation, social dances as cultural storage systems, collaborative choreographic formats, future bodily techniques and rapping as embodied speech acts. Her live art works have been presented in contexts of contemporary art, music, dance, and theater at Kunsthalle Zürich (2020), Sharjah Biennial (2019), Roskilde Festival (2019), Berliner Festspiele-Gropius Bau (2018), Tate Modern (2017), Steirischer Herbst (2017), Dia Art Foundation (2016), Ming Contemporary Art Museum Shanghai (2016), and Tanz Im August (2015) among others.


Seeking performers for the exhibition "The Soul Expanding Ocean #2: Isabel Lewis", curated by Chus Martínez.

From September 17 to October 17, 2021, Ocean Space will host a live exhibition by the artist Isabel Lewis (b. 1981,
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), which explores Venice, the sea and memories related to it through the Church of San Lorenzo, where Ocean Space is located. This new performance will draw on storytelling, singing, and dancing as tools to explore the history of merchants, trade routes, encounters with cultures, indigenous traces, and tales of the city.

We are looking for 10 experienced professional or amateur performers and 10 students or people in training to take part in a group performance to be held every Friday and Saturday from 17 September to 17 October, with additional rehearsals on 13 and 14 September.

Application deadline: Monday, June 28, 2021.