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Exhibit inspired by the stages of modern dance

May 29,2019
Peter Pabst, a Polish-born set designer, worked with the late Pina Bausch for nearly 30 years until her death in 2009. [GLINT]
The “Pink” space at Piknic’s new exhibition “Peter Pabst: White Red Pink Green” was inspired by famed German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch “Carnations” (1982). The exhibition, created by Pabst, her set designer, is now open until Oct. 27. [GLINT]
Have you ever wondered how it feels to be dancing on stage in a famous production?

At the Piknic exhibition space in central Seoul, visitors can now tiptoe over a field of carnations or waltz their way through thousands of rose petals in spaces created by Peter Pabst, who has spent nearly 30 years designing sets for the late Pina Bausch, one of Germany’s most prominent modern dance choreographers.

Titled “Peter Pabst: White Red Pink Green,” the exhibition offers different interactive installations inspired by pieces by Bausch, who was known for her expressionist - and often controversial - dances.

Snow-like sandy grains and dozens of real birch trees cover the space at “White,” a take on Bausch’s “Tanzabend II” (1991), or “Dance Evening.” “Red,” inspired by “The Window Washer” (1997), holds a crimson mound of fifty thousand rose petals while artificial pink carnations fill up “Pink,” an homage to “Carnations” (1982). The last space, “Green,” inspired by Pabst and Bausch’s first collaborative work “1980” (1980), is a grassy space on the building’s top floor that looks out onto Piknic’s rooftop, which feature a collection of statements by Pabst on theater and Bausch.

Natural elements are a running theme in “White Red Pink Green.” They have always been a fascination of Pabst, who’s experimented with bringing water, rocks, lava and living animals onto the stage in the past.

“Natural materials are warm and cozy. They’re very sensual,” Pabst said during a talk ahead of the exhibition’s opening on Saturday.

Besides being extremely Instagrammable, “White Red Pink Green” is an interactive display intended to pique the senses and entice visitors to move in reaction to the set. At “White,” visitors can take their shoes off to feel the white sand embracing their feet, while at “Pink,” the tightly-packed field of carnations leave little room for visitors to maintain their balance.

Even in the space titled “Peter For Pina,” which showcases photographed scenes from some of the most dramatic moments at Tanztheater Wuppertal, Bausch’s dance company, visitors are forced to continuously move to avoid getting caught between the rotating canvases. Dancers, including Bausch, can be seen waving their hands with anguished expressions as they glide across Pabst’s sets.

While “White Red Pink Green” may sound like a careless name for an important show about one of the world’s most famed choreographers, there’s a good reason behind naming the show after a series of colors, according to Pabst.

“I’m absolutely against [giving things a title], because usually a name or a title is already an interpretation,” Pabst said. “Nothing you see [here] tries to have some meaning or try to be something else.

“Stage design does not have to tell the story. Actors and dancers have to tell the story - that’s their business.”

“Peter Pabst: White Red Pink Green” is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesdays to Sundays. Entry is 15,000 won ($12.70) for adults. The exhibition runs through Oct. 27.

BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]