Margaret Roberts, Taeuber Composition Practice, 2021, as a guest artist on Saturday 8 May 2021 in Performature : Performateur #3, curated by WeiZen Ho in STST ARI, 84 Bathurst Road, Katoomba 2780. Photos:David Brazil

Taeuber Composition Practice was devised to test out the idea that Sophie Taeuber may have on some level understood her paintings to be instructions to move. This is an idea drawn from her underlying interest in dance and from the similarity of the shapes in one of her paintings in particular, Composition vertical-horizontal, 1928, to Labanotation movement scores.

The practice used the 48 shapes of the black-waxed half of 96 (an enlarged version of Composition vertical-horizontal of 1916), as a composition that can be practiced in the way that musicians practice musical scores, i.e., by repetition until it is known by heart.

To test this out in Performature : Performateur #3, after laying one full composition out, I collected all of one of the 5 types of shape in the composition (2 sizes of square and 3 sizes of rectangle), and laid them out correctly somewhere else in the room, repeating that with each of the other 4 types of shape until the whole composition was correctly arranged again. Then (sometimes) I lay down beside them in imitation of their location on the floor, and then I began the process again, by progressively laying out the same composition in another location in the room. This was repeated throughout the event while other artists where performing in other parts of the room. I progressively became more familiar with the arangement in the sense of being more able to remake it by heart.

The purpose of the practice is to act out the cross disciplinary nature of Taeuber's work as seen in her paintings in particular, by treating them as scores to be practiced, as well as paintings to be looked at.



Thanks to WeiZen Ho whose invitation to participate provided the opportunity and context for this practice.