Oblitus / Oblivion
We sat down with dancer and choreographer Isaac Montllor, from the Spanish National Dance Company, to talk about his new dance piece ‘Oblitus.’ Created within the framework of Rashid Jonhson’s exhibition ‘Sodade’ at Hauser & Wirth Menorca, this choreographic work is inspired by the sea, Menorcan poet Ponç Pons, and the idea of oblivion.
Can you first tell us about the title, ‘Oblitus’? What were you wanting to create in your new choreographic work?
Oblitus means oblivion or forgetting in Latin. The piece is inspired by the act of remembering and forgetting, and the pain associated with certain memories, which come and go, come and go… The choreography is very dynamic and has loads of this back and forth. I wanted to create two concepts, one is more emotional and the other more physical, the sea.
The work is performed alongside American artist Rashid Johnson’s new Seascape paintings in his exhibition ‘Sodade.’ Do you see a dialogue with his paintings?
Since childhood, I have always loved the sea and found an introspective calmness in water. When I first saw the Seascapes they conveyed the movement of water and boats on waves. I wanted ‘Oblitus’ to embody sea as a choreographic concept: its immensity, its smell, its color, its breeze, the swaying of the waves, the slowed movement of a body when it is submerged in its vastness. The sea makes your body dance. Currents can drag you from one place to another and this is something present in the piece, these sudden changes direction.
In the end I know that everything
will be nothing and there is no
more future than oblivion,
but I think that,
despite the pain,
it has been worth taking advantage
of life to make verses.
The new work is also inspired by Menorcan writer Ponç Pons. What was it about his poetry that influenced you in creating this new piece?
When reading Ponç Pons’ ‘Ecce Homo’ I reached a specific verse and couldn’t go any further, it kept coming back to me as a mantra. I took me two weeks to finish the poem, and I kept on stopping in this passage. The idea of ‘oblivion’ stuck in my mind.
I wanted to make a piece that talked about memory and forgetting. We are overloaded with information non-stop, so much that we start accumulating information automatically at the back of our brain and suddenly forget things, even banal everyday things. We have so many memories in our unconscious, and sometimes there are those moments when your brain suddenly remembers something it had forgotten.
Isaac Montllor is a principal dancer and artistic coordinator at the Compañía Nacional de Danza. Following his training in Alcoy and Valencia, he joined Compañía Nacional de Danza where he has worked for over 20 years with renowned choreographers such as Jirí Kilyán, William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Alexander Ekman and Itzik Galili, among others.
The performance of ‘Oblitus’ with dancers Kayoko Everhart and Alessandro Riga at Hauser & Wirth Menorca was realized in collaboration with 78i dansa, Menorca.