“I was born in Chicago, raised in Memphis, Tennessee,” starts Lil Buck, as he walks us toward the entrance of Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton. “I didn’t start dancing until I was 11 years old.”
Panning the dancer’s long strides as he approaches the monumental museum, Andrew Margeston’s camera offers glimpses of Frank Gehry’s sail-like structure, splashed with color from Daniel Buren’s “Observatory of Light” installation.
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“The dance style I do is a dance style that started with Memphis underground rap music, and that music, the way it was produced, gave us a certain balance,” continues Lil Buck as he steps into the white interiors of the Fondation.
He enters the galleries confidently, continuing his story as he advances: “When I was around 16 years old I got into ballet. We made a deal with this artistic director. We would teach hip-hop, and then they would teach us some ballet, and that’s how it happened. As performing artists and as dancers, we see everything as art.”
Then, the gliding and slow-motion twisting of the body begins. Time seems to slow down as Lil Buck guides us close to the ground, up a flight of escalators and on his way to the galleries where the Foundation’s latest show resides. Dedicated to the noted art patron Sergei Shchukin, “Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection” assembles a famed roster of artists of the modern era, including the likes of Cézanne, Degas, Picasso and Matisse.
Dancing by a series of paintings, Lil Buck adopts the lines and curves of the artists and appropriates brush strokes to his dancing body, recreating the forms of Matisse’s Nasturtiums With ‘Dance’ and Picasso’s Three Women effortlessly.
Architecturally, the video reveals an intimate discovery of Frank Gehry’s iconic design, marrying the interiors of a contemporary white gallery with abstract forms and colors reminiscent of Gehry’s own language. The dance becomes a work of art of its own, paying tribute to Shchukin’s collection, the Fondation’s exhibit and Gehry’s architecture with lightness and grace.
All images from “Lil Buck at Fondation Louis Vuitton” by Andrew Margeston on NOWNESS