A still from Mira Calix's film 'if or unless?'. There is 1 person dancing and 4 people playing instruments in the background

if or unless? – Mira Calix

30 Jun 2020

For this week’s PAUSE, a moment to enjoy an artist’s work in full, we present Mira Calix’s if or unless?, originally exhibited at our 2018 exhibition Good Grief, Charlie Brown! 

Mira Calix is an award-winning artist and composer based in the UK. Music and sound, which she considers sculptural material, are at the centre of her practice. 

Calix wrote, choreographed and produced if or unless? (2018) to be a process-based performance filmed in our Embankment Gallery. Mira speaks of her relationship to Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s work stating that:

Schulz really portrayed music as an animated character throughout the Peanuts strips. It was the first time I had seen musical notation fly, bend, be embraced, wrestled with. He made me consider music as an object in time and space.

The film itself is informed by this depiction of musical notation in the Peanuts comic strips. Calix presents this video artwork, edited with a non-representational, abstracted narrative, and its accompanying quadraphonic soundtrack as a sculptural entity. In the film musicians and dancers perform the musical and choreographed score by moving through the gallery space, performing interventions in the physical and sonic landscapes. Their actions have musical consequences.

About the Artist

Mira Calix’s work explores the manipulation of the material into visible, physical forms through multi-disciplinary installations, sculpture, video and performance works. Calix’s practice is deliberately disjunctive, allowing research, site, and subject to influence a fluid choice of materials and mediums.

Calix has been commissioned by and exhibited and performed works in many leading cultural institutions, festivals and ensembles internationally, including Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Galleries, the 1stCoventry Biennial, The Royal Shakespeare Company, UK in China 2015 cultural exchange program, Carriageworks, MONA, Performa, Barbican Centre, Art Basel, Lincoln Center, Manchester International festival and the London Olympics among others.