Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion have been working together since 1989, and their ongoing body of work goes on touring around the world. The work is hard to place, combining intellectual rigour with unexpected humour, but it has its roots in a shared love of the forms of classical music, which they clash against an approach to performance that is open to audience, anarchic and joyful. They tend to describe what they do as music, though it combines also gesture, dance, text, objects, projection and video.
Their ethos of working is that everything is shared equally, including conception of work, creation, rehearsal, performance and administration. They receive no permanent funding and so have no office or established production mechanism, but continue to be helped by occasional small scale funding from Arts Council England and co-production by Kaaitheater Brussels, PACT Zollverein Essen, Sadler's Wells Theatre London and BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen. For many years they have also been generously supported and guided by their long time manager, Nigel Hinds. Burrows and Fargion mostly work from home, which suits their practice and allows them also to co-parent with their respective partners Claire Godsmark and Janet Topp.
At any given time the two men are engaged in various overlapping projects both touring and in development. In 2018 they are performing a number of their duets including Both Sitting Duet, Speaking Dance, Cheap Lecture, The Cow Piece and Body Not Fit For Purpose, as well as working on a new duet. They will also present two hour cinematic screenings of their online collaboration with Hugo Glendinning 52 Portraits (2016), as well as performances of Any Table Any Room (2017) which invites four local artists to join them onstage in each new city, and the first two editions of their rock band project Music For Lectures with Katye Coe (She Dancing, 2018) and Mette Edvardsen (Every Word Was Once An Animal, 2018). The Music For Lectures band is Francesca Fargion on synth, Matteo Fargion on bass and Jonathan Burrows on drums.
Burrows and Fargion's performances are often combined with the work of other artists as part of salon events which they have variously titled Return Of The Salon (co-produced initially with Stephen Brett, Kate Gowar and Janine Fletcher at the Nightingale Brighton), or Hysterical Furniture. The most recent edition of Hysterical Furniture was a four hour event in the long room of the Baroque Herrenhauser Palace in Hannover, co-curated with Hugo Glendinning and produced by Beate Schuler and Stefan Buchberger for the 2018 Kunstfestspiele Hannover. Salon events include always a meal shared with the audience, and live contemporary classical music by a living composer.
This more recent work in which Burrows and Fargion invite other artists to share the stage, or where they act as support within the work of other artists, is part of an attept to manifest an aspect of what Gurur Ertem has described as the necessity for 'art to go visiting'.