Archive for critique

Things are not always what you expect them to be: Rinus Van de Velde’s “Donogoo Tonka”

Posted in art, contemporary art with tags , , , , on June 1, 2016 by Utopia Parkway


Much talked about exhibitions. You know how it goes: you’ve read all the articles and the interviews, you’ve seen the images and you wonder: should I really bother to go? Because you’re almost sure you’ve seen everything there is so see. Sort of what my feeling was about Donogoo Tonka, the successful solo exhibition by the adored Belgian visual artist Rinus Van de Velde at S.M.A.K. (through June 5). But then I happened to be in Ghent, and I decided to drop by.

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What happens when dance is governed by another set of rules? Some thoughts on ‘Work/Travail/Arbeid’ by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (Wiels, Brussels)

Posted in art, contemporary art, dance, performance with tags , , on June 18, 2015 by Utopia Parkway


What happens when dance is governed by another set of rules? Well, you get a hype, to begin with. More than 24.000 people went to see Work/Travail/Arbeid by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker during the nine weeks it was on at Wiels contemporary art centre, Brussels. The exhibition was one of this year’s best ‘performances’ a jury of Flemish critics decided, and so there will be a short rerun at Wiels in September, for Het Theaterfestival in Brussels. In 2016 Work/Travail/Arbeid will be presented by Centre Pompidou (Paris) and Tate Modern (London). I went to Wiels several times, trying to figure out why people were so drawn to this. These are my thoughts.

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Trying to mix Shakespeare with Brian Eno: ‘Golden Hours (As you like it)’ by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker & Rosas

Posted in contemporary dance, dance with tags , , , , on February 16, 2015 by Utopia Parkway


Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker dancing to Brian Eno. That’s how Golden Hours was announced. But somewhere along the way it became: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker dancing to Shakespeare. Golden Hours (As you like it) still carries the traces of that shift. The piece once again proves the radical artistic mind of the Belgian choreographer, but at the time of the premiere (Kaaitheater, Brussels, January 2015), it was a dance performance that definitely needed some more thought.

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Funny, creepy and ridiculously perfect: ‘AH/HA’ by Lisbeth Gruwez/Voetvolk

Posted in contemporary dance with tags , , on November 8, 2014 by Utopia Parkway


Stop! Now!, I was thinking. And surprisingly enough the lights went out that very moment. Artists often tend to want to prove too much and end up putting too many things in a performance. So it felt almost as a relief to see someone sticking to a couple of essential ideas and think them through. AH/HA by Lisbeth Gruwez and her company Voetvolk. Gruwez is the Belgian choreographer who has toured the world with her solo It’s going to get worse and worse and worse, my friend – more than 100 shows, and counting: Canada in January, Paris in March. AH/HA is her first group choreography, and it’s a gem.

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Beautifully cutting up and reassembling the past: ‘Hunter’ by Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods

Posted in dance with tags , , , , on October 13, 2014 by Utopia Parkway


Some performances are gone the next day. Forgotten. Some stay with you a little longer. And some keep on popping up in your mind. Such as Hunter, the first evening-length solo by Meg Stuart. I watched the American choreographer perform it a couple of months ago in Essen, and scenes and images from it have been coming back to me regularly, since. Hunter, a piece about memories. The Venice Biennale wanted it on its programme last June, and the well-respected German magazine tanz awarded Meg Stuart the title choreographer of the year for it. The piece will have its Belgian premiere this week at Kaaitheater, Brussels.

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Karaoke with Kafka… and seven dancers: Daniel Linehan’s ‘Karaoke Dialogues’

Posted in dance, Kunstenfestivaldesarts with tags , , , , , on June 5, 2014 by Utopia Parkway

He sure is a smart thinker. But this time it seems Daniel Linehan has done a bit too much thinking. With the unfortunate result that the gifted, Belgium-based American choreographer has squeezed much of the air out of his newest piece. The Karaoke Dialogues? Seven dancers reading aloud fragments from literary classics that appear on tv-screens, while they dance. When describing a karaoke night you would probably be choosing words such as loose, funny, spontaneous and light. For Linehan’s take on karaoke, my guess is spectators will be ending up with words as formal, cerebral and tedious.

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Exploding buckets and erupting volcanos, or ‘J’ai toujours voulu rencontrer un volcan’, by Gwendoline Robin

Posted in art, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, performance with tags , , on May 23, 2014 by Utopia Parkway

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All of a sudden: a fire, and a gust of heat that makes you quickly step back. Or how Gwendoline Robin succeeds, seemingly out of nothing, in what she set out to do: to arrange an encounter with a volcano for you. J’ai toujours voulu rencontrer un volcan, is the title of her performance: I’ve always wanted to meet a volcano. The Belgian visual/performance artist premiered it during Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), at a fitting location: the huge, empty customs depots of Tour & Taxis.

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