Matthias Sperling

To hand
To hand_Photo by Neil Wissink

To hand (2011) - Siobhan Davies Collaboration

Created in collaboration with choreographer Siobhan Davies, To hand was commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery and was first performed within Claire Barclay’s Shadow Spans installation over four hours a day for a period of three weeks. The work is informed by Davies’ and Sperling’s engagement with Barclay’s installation and the ideas behind her work.

"Matthias and I entered Shadow Spans and like every other visitor, we brought the outside world into the installation. Claire Barclay was ahead of us, she seemed to have relished finding out about how certain objects are crafted and her work already included exquisitely made things, each one re-imagined from activities, structures and materials found in the Whitechapel Gallery's present and historic environment. The individual parts as well as the whole exist in their time and their own variations of completion. Each object invites being looked at.

Matthias and I have been involved in several processes in order to find the particular durational presence our movement might bring amongst this stillness. We continuously came back to thinking about what Claire must have learnt in order to make her work and we concentrated on finding simple movements that need a complex collection of decisions to make each movement work and be noticed." - Siobhan Davies

Click here to view a video of To hand

Click here to read AnOther Magazine’s interview with Davies and Sperling

Created with support from Catherine and Franck Petitgas, Canada House Arts Trust and Siobhan Davies Commissioning Fund.



Diplomacy II (2009)– Andréya Ouamba Collaboration

Created and performed in collaboration with Senegal-based choreographer Andréya Ouamba and commissioned by Dance Umbrella London, this duet invites the audience to share in an encounter between two artists, asking: how do we get beyond the diplomatic to a closer understanding of one another and our relationships? Grounded in improvisation, their encounter is an embodied, evolving process of communication and negotiation.

Andréya Ouamba and Matthias Sperling first met in 2007 through Woking Dance Festival’s Dance Dialogues Programme.  Since then, they have collaborated on a series of short projects and artistic exchanges, both in the UK and in Dakar, Senegal.


Click here to view a video of Diplomacy II


Diplomacy II has been presented at the Royal Opera House Clore Studio (UK) and Tanztendenzen Festival (Germany), and was created with support from Tamaas Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.



Minutes (2009) – Siobhan Davies Collaboration

Created in collaboration with choreographer Siobhan Davies, Matthias Sperling’s contribution to Minutes is a solo performance for gallery spaces, juxtaposed with performance and visual art works by Anri Sala, Matteo Fargion, Catharine Bennett, Deborah Saxon and Henry Montes.

Sperling’s solo performance takes up Davies’ invitation to investigate how a collection of choreographic works can inhabit a gallery setting for six hours each day over a period of three weeks, during which time audience members are invited to come and go freely at any point:

“What is needed to be put in place or learnt to have our work seen in another medium's environment; how do we keep what is distinctive in our movement, rhythmical and sensual work and how do we apply ourselves to a different physical space and use of time, especially one that has a different history of expectation and critical debate?” Siobhan Davies

His response plays with the idea of seeing music manifested in movement. Framed by the rhythmic ticking of seconds on a metronome that he places beside him, he uses a vocabulary of small and precise movement behaviours to embody the rhythmic and melodic journey of a music that he is always re-composing and that is never heard.


Click here to view video of Minutes


Click here to read Dance UK’s interview with Sperling about Minutes


Presented at Victoria Miro Gallery (London) as part of The Collection, at IKON Gallery (Birmingham) and at Hayward Gallery (London) as part of Move:Choreographing You.

“A surprisingly charming and absorbing performance that's all about paying attention and noticing the details”
(Time Out London on To hand)

( on To hand)

“Arresting in its choreographic clarity, its immediacy”
(WP Magazin, Germany on Diplomacy II)