Anatomy is Destiny Performance
WednesdayFeb 15
Anatomy is Destiny Performance

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108

liliya-1-hypA past performance of Anatomy is Destiny. To see a clip of the video, click here.

The World Chess Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation of Liliya Lifánova’s performance art piece Anatomy is Destiny, which will mark the closing of the World Chess Hall of Fame’s inaugural exhibitions OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess and Chess Masterpieces: Highlights from the Dr. George and Vivian Dean Collection. Both exhibitions close on February 12.

The largest and most imposing piece in the exhibition OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess, Lifánova’s monumental installation Anatomy is Destiny: The Wardrobe, Game in Waiting (2009) consists of 32 life-sized garments suspended from the ceiling above a 16-by-16-foot chessboard. 

The title of the work, which refers to the controversial theory that the primary determinant of personality is gender, is a quotation from Sigmund Freud’s essay on the Oedipus complex. The same garments currently in the installation will be fitted to dancers and worn in the performance, which will take place on February 15 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. In the performance, the 32 dancers will reenact an imaginary chess match between the artist and chess master Marcel Duchamp and his female alter ego Rrose Sélavy.

Inspired by an array of historical military fashions, the “chess piece” garments were designed to visually and symbolically recall the various pieces and to physically restrict the wearers to approximate the freedom of movement of each piece on the game board. For example:

  • The pawns have their hands bound and a mask covers their mouth.
  • The bishops have canes attached to their legs.
  • The knights have their hands behind their backs and lean forward during movement.
  • The rooks hold a round shape under their arm and are instructed to scratch it with a brush to produce a dry noise. The round shape is repeated on their hats, and they have high collars to symbolize a tower.
  • The queens have no restrictive garments.
  • The kings—since his value is priceless—are bound at the legs and wrists.

To see a clip of a past performance of Anatomy is Destiny, click here.

The performance will take place at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis:

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO 63108
(314) 535-4660

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Artist Liliya Lifánova and OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess curator and assistant professor of art history at Saint Louis University Bradley Bailey will present a brief talk at 7 p.m. to begin the program, with the performance immediately following. This is a collaborative effort with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Saint Louis University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts is an associate sponsor.

Tickets are available at the following rates:

General Admission - $20.00
World Chess Hall of Fame Members - $10.00
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Members - $10.00
Students - $5.00

Please contact ChiChi LLC to reserve tickets: (314) 678-0500