Complaint, A Lyric
Ligia Lewis in the city of Rome

PRISMA 2023 is dedicated to the choreographer and visual artist Ligia Lewis, an expansive and refracted project involving different places and partners that offers the city a chance to transverse the work of an international artist. Complaint, A Lyric connects a series of actions by this transdisciplinary artist, investigating her choreographic production, audiovisual experimentation and deepening her aesthetic as well as political reflections in a talk. During her stay in Rome, Ligia Lewis will come into contact with various communities that inhabit the city, through an intensive workshop aimed at performers and artists in training, plus a series of appointments with CivicoZero, to practice the geometries of reciprocity together.

Ligia Lewis explores those ghostly traces of history that, juxtaposed with the new oiled engineering of inequality, besiege blackness. At the crossroads of dance, theatre and visual arts, she weaves together scenic writings imbued with colour, imperceptible whispers and lamentations, mixing references to a base materialism of the body that appeals comically to tragedy. She plays with the monotony of duration and with the violence that can arise from repetition.
In her shows, Ligia Lewis works by cracking forms, decomposing movement layer by layer; obsessed with falls and collisions, with the ghosts that haunt gesture; attracted by uncomfortable intervals and pauses, where an unexpected dynamism gives way to an impassivity that threatens the threshold of inaction. To keep away from ideas of bodily integrity, which does not concern black people, themselves always considered in pieces, more flesh than bodies, Lewis proceeds according to a tactic of compositional disassembly.
All of her research over the last years questions dying, starting from the fact that not all deaths are the same, that there is a death that surpasses the physical one, a death that has always been attached to certain bodies. She insists on this until reaching the irreducible core of bereavement, and it is there that her complaint becomes anti-cathartic, because there is nothing to reconcile.


Advanced training practices for dancers and performers

10>12 September | Teatro India
more info

screening + talk with Ligia Lewis, Johanne Affricot and Piersandra Di Matteo

13 September | Cinema Troisi

reciprocity practices with CivicoZero

14 September


16-17 September | Teatro India

translation in italian of Erin Manning article on Ligia Lewis


notes by Giulia Crisci on Ligia Lewis’ work

in italian


Ligia Lewis works as a choreographer and dancer. Lewis’s works, often marked by expressions of physical intensity and humor, seek to animate subjects through physical forms of expression that disrupt normative conceptions of the body while negotiating the ghostly traces of history, memory, and the unknown. Through choreography, she develops expressive concepts that give form to movements, speech, affects, thoughts, relations, utterances, and the bodies that hold them. Utilizing affect, empathy, and the sensate, her work continues to evoke the nuances of embodiment. Lewis recently finished works including: A Plot / A Scandal (2022), Still Not Still (2021), deader than dead (film and live performance) (2020), the trilogy including: Water Will (in Melody) (2018), minor matter (2016), and Sorrow Swag (2014). Her other works include: Sensation 1/This Interior (High Line Commission, 2019); so something happened, get over it; no, nothing happened, get with it (Jaou Tunis, 2018); Melancholy: A White Mellow Drama (Flax Fahrenheit, Palais de Tokyo, 2015); $$$ (Tanz im August, 2012); and Sensation 1 (, Tanz im August, 2011 and Basel Liste, 2014). Her work was presented in multiple venues across Europe and the US such as HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin; Tanzquartier, Vienna; MCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Kaaitheater, Brussels ; Arsenic, Lausanne ; High Line Art, New York; Performance Space, New York (2019); OGR Torino; Stedelijk, Amsterdam ; TATE Modern, London. Her work has also been presented at festivals and biennials such as the Ruhrtriennale, Bochum, Germany; Tanzplattform, Germany; Politik im Freien Theater Festival, Frankfurt; Liverpool Biennial; the Side Step Festival, Helsinki ; Biennale of Moving Images / Centre D’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Diver Festival, Tel Aviv; American Realness, New York; The Donaufestival, Krems, Austria and Julidans, Amsterdam. Lewis is the recipient of the Tabori Award in the category of Distinction (2021); a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants Award (2018); a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for minor matter (2017); a Factory Artist residency at tanzhaus nrw (2017-19); and a Prix Jardin d’Europe from ImPulsTanz for Sorrow Swag (2015).

ph Ligia Lewis / Moritz Freudenberg