'We're asking the art!' The one-to-one tarot show inspired by Bauhaus

Choreographer Jennifer Lacey explains why there is more modern art than movement in her new life-coaching piece

In the basement of Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, Jennifer Lacey fans out a set of large homemade tarot cards. I pick a pink one, turn it over, and find an image of a baby chick beneath a pair of boob-like fried eggs. The artist Sarah Lucas immediately springs to mind but Lacey’s picture is actually a homage to Leigh Bowery, the outre superstar who was his own art object. Several portraits of Bowery hang a couple of floors above us, along with a video of him strolling through Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in a peanut bodysuit and one-shoulder floral dress. They are part of the exhibition Still Undead: Britain Beyond the Bauhaus, which explores the far-reaching influence of the Weimar art school. Lacey has drawn upon several of the artworks for her one-to-one performance, Extended Hermeneutics, which I’m experiencing over a cup of tea in the cafe.

Lacey is an American choreographer who has been based in France since the start of the century. Presented by Nottingham’s biennial dance festival, Nottdance, Extended Hermeneutics is, well, not dance. She may end each 30-minute session with a short solo but for the main part she will act as life coach, psychologist and fortune-teller. The tarot cards are part of “a performance we’re doing together,” she tells me. “We’re asking the art.” The idea is to use artworks suggested by the cards to wrestle with a problem offered by the participant.

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