How does the Annunciation, that key moment which underpins a whole religion, resonate in us, what does it awaken?
While so many painters over the past 2000 years have sought time and again to understand the flurry of contradictory symbols, which in effect is what the Annunciation is, it comes as something of a surprise that a theme, a subject in which so many issues about the body are so manifestly implicated should have reminded almost entirely absent from choreographic art.
And yet, what we find here, deep down, is truly fascinating.
In traditional iconography, Mary is often shown in an enclosed or walled garden, symbolising her virginity. There is, therefore, a parallel between what might be called her inner space and her surroundings.
When the angel breaks into this private world, he is saying, in so many words, that the workings of her body are about to be dramatically altered. This explains why it is that, although in the Bible the Virgin displays a screen acceptance of the forthcoming event, many artists have chosen to make her the prey of doubt, anxiety, even rebelliousness.
The strange co-existence of acceptance and rebellion, the collision of space and time, tell us that at the very moment the message is given, fertilisation takes place. We are, as it were, inside biology, the very act of conception.
This coming to life in gradual stages takes us to the heart of the process of creating art; the message is no longer an abstraction, it is reality.
Rather than something finished, isn't what we call nowadays conceptual art the portent of a new art, the Annunciation of an art yet to be born?Angelin Preljocaj
Choreography: Angelin Preljocaj
Music: Stephane Roy (Crystal Music), Antonio Vivaldi (Magnificat)
Recipient of 1997 Bessie Award for New York Dance & Performance Production Ballet Preljocaj
Created in the “TNDI” of Chateauvallon
Premiered in the Opera of Lausanne