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2017 Biennial Performances

Asad Raza’s Weekend Guests: Sahra Motalebi

Songs (for) Temporary Structures 2001–2017

Location: Floor Six

About Asad Raza’s Weekend Guests
As part of his work for the 2017 BiennialRoot sequence. Mother tongue (2017), Asad Raza has invited a series of guests to occupy the installation with choreographic, musical, and intellectual events for weekend visitors to the Museum. Comprising mentors, friends, and younger creative practitioners, the group is a plurivocal portrait of the artist’s community. View the full program.

March 25 and 26: Sahra Motalebi
Sahra Motalebi will perform work from her extensive archive as a continuous one-hour a cappella vocal score. Excerpting and sampling her art songs, operas, and sound installations from 2001–2017, this composition reframes a dynamic range of lyrical and theatrical gestures using melodic verse, spoken monologue, and extended vocal techniques. Here Motalebi considers the effects of the process of searching and browsing on the production of creative utterances and narrative form as it relates to live performance. Stripped of their original scenic and musical contexts, she links these texts to her body in time instead—quickly pivoting from emotionally-charged interior experience, to stage directions, a news story about war, to an historical character study, then a dramatic interpretation of religious scripture—in a re-staging of this content for a continuously present moment. Performing among visitors to Raza’s installation inside the Museum, Motalebi more generally confronts the conditionalities of autobiography, memory and identity itself.  

Sahra Motalebi (b. 1979, Birmingham, Alabama) is an artist, vocalist, composer and writer working at the intersections of visual representation, architecture, and performance exploring the construction of narrative, its events and artifacts. Motalebi’s work has been shown at the Kitchen, SculptureCenter, the New Museum, Museum Ludwig, Watermill Center, and MoMA PS1. She has collaborated with Kai Althoff, Sophia Al Maria, Jesper Just, Sibyl Kempson, Will Rawls.

Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26
2 pm

Asad Raza, detail of Root sequence. Mother tongue, 2017. Whitney Biennial 2017. Photograph © Paula Court

Asad Raza, detail of Root sequence. Mother tongue, 2017. Whitney Biennial 2017. Photograph © Paula Court