Eszter Salamon is a choreographer, artist and performer.
She lives and works between Berlin, Paris, and Budapest. She is currently doing her artistic Ph.D. at the National Academy of the Arts, KHiO, in Oslo. She is the laureate of the Evens Art Prize 2019 and winner of La vie bonne call for projects by the National Center for Plastic Arts (FR) and Aware: Archive of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions, in 2020.

Salamon uses choreography as an activating and organizing agency between various media such as image, sound, music, text, voice, bodily movement and actions. Her works evolve through various formats and aesthetics, methodologies and poetics, and put to work a wide spectrum of expressions.

The works are often based on thorough research on particular issues such as female autobiography, non-human subjectivities, and hidden power structures sustaining the hierarchical systems of artistic and educational economies of productions. She conceives of choreography as a means to reflect on the value of knowledge, gestures and images. By exploring how bodies are vectors of the circulation and transformation of meaning, sheinvests in creating trans-national and trans-historical narrations. Traditional and contemporary codes, standardization of bodies and the imaginary, as well as ways of producing knowledge are critically approached in her artistic practice.Her work is characterised by playing with the indiscernible zones between the documentary and the fictional to give a different perspective on what can be perceived as reality. By increasing performers’ agency, she creates ecologies where their subjectivities become affirmative perspectives.

Since 2001 she has created solos and larger scale works that have been presented in performing arts venues and museums internationally, including Centre Pompidou (FR), Centre Pompidou Metz (FR), Festival d’Automne (FR), Avignon Festival (FR), Ruhrtriennale (DE), Holland Festival (NL), The Kitchen New York (USA), The Place London (UK), HAU Hebbel-am-Ufer Berlin (DE), Berlin Documentary Forum (DE), PACT Zollverein (D), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (BE), Kaaitheater (BE), Tanzquartier Wien (AT), Kampnagel Hamburg (DE), Steirischer Herbst (AT), Manchester International Festival (UK), Holland Festival (NL), Nanterre-Amandiers (FR), FTA Montreal (CA), Dance Triennale Tokyo (JP), TheatreWorks Singapore (SG), Panorama Festival Rio de Janeiro (BR), Movimiento Sur Valparaiso (CL).

She is frequently invited to present her work in museums, including MoMA (USA), Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art) (NL), Fondation Cartier (FR), Serralves Foundation (PT), Museum der Moderne Salzburg (AT), Akademie der Künste Berlin (DE), Villa Empain - Boghossian Foundation (BE), ING Art Center (BE), KINDL (DE), mumok (AT). Her exhibition Eszter Salamon 1949 was presented in 2014 at Jeu de Paume (F) as part of Satellite curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez.

Eszter Salamon often develops her works in close collaboration with artists, composers, dramaturges such as Boglàrka Börcsök, Bojana Cvejić, Cédric Dambrain, Sylvie Garot, Arantxa Martinez, Christine De Smedt, Terre Thaemlitz, Minze Tummescheit, Ana Vujanović and Christophe Wavelet.

Overview of the works

Salamon’s first works aimed at deconstructing the essentialist gazeand finding alternatives to dominant narratives in relation to the representation of female bodies and their actions on stage. The activation of cognitive experience called into question visual perception, kinesthesia, sensation and concepts of identity through ‘staging of sensation’ and the ‘performativity of gender’.

By breaking away from the mute dancing body, in 2005 her work took a significant turn by expanding choreography to include voice and narration. Her artistic interest turned towards documentary and female autobiography inspiring a multitude of works and formats: a lecture performance in Magyar Táncok (2005) focusing on her own biographical and choreographic past presented in collaboration with Hungarian folk dance and music specialists, and several works exploring homonymy such as in a film-choreography AND THEN (2007), and in the solo work Melodrama (2012), portraying the life of one Eszter Salamon, and the exhibition work Eszter Salamon 1949 (2014).

Another field of investigation in Salamon’swork is the relationship between voice, language and movement. The use of voice becomes inextricable in the dance conference Dance for Nothing (2010), where performing John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing (1949) and simultaneously dancing a choreography of indeterminacy allows music and dance to be produced by the same body. Her exploration of speculation and fiction gave rise to TALES OF THE BODILESS (2011), a fiction-without-science, a sort of futurist opera without performers, which imagined possible modes of existence after the extinction of humans. This immersive ‘theatrical installation’ marked a turn from visual perception to the acoustic space and sonic world of dystopian fictions to be performed for and by the spectators.

Since 2014, Salamon has been working on a series of works re-thinking the monument and exploring ways of re-hallucinating history. In these works, memory is created to counter phantasms of identity, authenticity, and origin. In MONUMENT 0: Haunted by wars (1913-2013), ethnic war dances and other popular dances from four continents are placed in relationship with the Western world’s implication in 20th and 21st century warfare revealing the repressed and historical unconscious of both Western History and the history of modern dance. MONUMENT 0.1: Valda and Gus focuses on the life and career, as well as the experience of aging of two exceptional New York based performers, Valda Setterfield and Gus Solomons Jr. MONUMENT 0.3: The Valeska Gert Museum and MONUMENT 0.5: The Valeska Gert Monument re-hallucinates traces of the life and work of German artist Valeska Gert. MONUMENT 0.4: Lores & Praxes (rituals of transformation) is a six-hour exhibition work where performers develop new rituals concerning ancient and contemporary war dances and dances of resistance. MONUMENT 0.7: M/OTHERS is a duet created with her mother Erzsébet Gyarmati and MONUMENT 0.6: HETEROCHRONY is a choir piece presented with 9 performers. MONUMENT 0.8: Manifestations, commissioned by EUROPALIA ROMANIA (Brussels) is a performative, visual, and sound collage that animates an emancipatory space by interweaving traces of the Romanian history of feminism, artistic gestures and female perspectives in the history of painting and traditional music.

In 2021, she creates her first short film Reappearance, a dialogue with German avant-garde artist Valeska Gert’s work and life.