Christopher Matthews is an American born choreographer and performance artist working from London. He holds a BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and a MA in Choreography from TrinityLaban. He has choreographed and directed music videos for Erickatoure Aviance, My Pumps, and Angolan artist Coreon Du, My Heart & It’s Not Ok. Christopher is a judge and contemporary choreographer on the popular Angolan dance reality series Bounce. His video and performance works have been presented at galleries in Amsterdam, London, Manchester, NYC and Barcelona. His dance works have been performed in NYC, Guatemala, Germany, Taiwan, Spain, London and Edinburgh. Christopher was CreativeWorks London Entrepreneur in Residence with Roehampton University in 2012 and Dance Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre. He completed a residency in Zagreb through WildCard Jardin D’Europe Award. As a performer, he has danced with Trajal Harrell, Janine Harrington, Alice Tatge, Jeremy Shaw, Tino Sehgal, Laura Peterson Choreography, Ann Reiking, Simone Forti, Marten Spangberg, Xavier Le Roy, Paula Roselen, Ballet NY, Connecticut Ballet, Ballet Moskva and toured with exhibitions at Tate Modern, Hayward Gallery, Haus Der Kunst, K21, and Manchester International Festival. Christopher is interested in exploring the body as a physical axis that can mould the traditional contemporary dance techniques of linear movement with the individual shapes of the performer's form and figure, developing the question “As a spectator how do we observe and what do we see?
Chris works in dialogue with Janine Harrington, through a frame they are calling trying. trying builds upon a proposition that Janine wrote in 2018, radical non-symmetrical (reciprocated) advocacy which offers that each of us- where we engage- has agency to make changes for the better of all of us, however small our reach may seem. In this spirit they want to make the most of their collective resources and develop radical ways of sharing practices and information across contexts whilst exploring ways to queer relations to organisations. For trying in 2019 they have invited Shannon Stewart to lead a public-facing and participatory project parallel to Chris’s work.
Chris’s practise is deeply embedded in performing. He hails from a classical ballet and early modern dance training as well as classical and commercial jazz. Chris continues to utilise these performed and constructed histories at the core of his work, with a concern for how themes and techniques are ways in which one performs. In this way he considers that his craft is not only a tool to serve an idea, but is something to be investigated. With twenty plus years of embodied history as a performer, he is interested in versatility and stability in relation to technique and how identity is played out in relation to specific codes. This connects strongly to Chris’s teaching practice, currently engaging with dance histories and narratives of appropriation and commercialisation of urban dance styles.
Combining his background in photography and dance history with performance, Chris’s works are intended to dialogue with the spectator on themes of voyeurism, criticism, gender, body image, working conditions, intersections of the classical and contemporary, icon vs self, pop culture and dance history. He is interested in what happens when he brings his experiences of performing in reality television, which feel like a performance of the self, into other spaces such as the gallery, where the body becomes an object/ image for contemplation, more than a spectacle. Chris is interested in the tensions of these colliding presentations, and the politics of seeing and acting in these contexts. These tensions are part of the work, and he builds in certain feedback mechanisms through which the spectator is invited to invest their own ideas and questions. Most explicitly, this takes the form of conversation (The Interview, 2014) or instagram occupy (#lads, 2017) and more implicitly this idea is employed through an engagement of the spectator’s gaze towards a kind of criticality (Untitled video works, 2017, Lads, 2017 and 20 Remix, 2013)
formed view is an agreement, open collective or frame work I generally work in. As the artist, I shape the experience for the visitor but I feel it is a choreography that involves other artists and the visitor in order for the work to be performed. formed view is a way for me to acknowledge that contract and not claim sole responsibility and/or credit for the work present under this name.