A painting starts to bleed, a sculpture comes to life, and isn’t that coffee machine behaving rather strangely? Welcome to Peeping Tom‘s universe, where “normal” is a concept that doesn’t seem to exist. With Moeder (Mother) the Brussels-based company once again puts on stage a piece resembling a surreal dream, in which one strange event follows the next.
Archive for KVS
Your cheapest and best alternative to an expensive airplane ticket to New Zealand? Book a seat for Lemi Ponifasio‘s strangely beautiful dance performance Birds with skymirrors. It’s fascinating to see how the choreographer from Samoa comes from a totally different dance tradition and tries to link his world to what contemporary dance audiences are used to see. Tonight at KVS (Brussels), next week at deSingel (Antwerp).
What makes you go to those theatres, night after night, people often ask. How come you never seem to lose that appetite, even after so many disappointing performances? Well, because once in a while you unexpectedly stumble upon a magician, turning water into wine. Somebody like Belgian artist Benjamin Verdonck. At first you think: is this it? A guy toying around with a lot of props, reciting excerpts from several books in between, all of that happening seemingly haphazard. But after a while you realize he’s got you under his spell. DISISIT? Loved it.
A bunch of people on all fours, hurriedly moving around like mice, hiding behind old furniture. I’m guessing that will be the image that my mind will attach to A Louer, to remember it by. But there are plenty of other possibilities. A statue suddenly coming to life. An opera diva with a voice resembling a hurricane, blowing people away. A guy simply disappearing in a chair. Want to view this negatively? Then you could argue that Belgian theatre company Peeping Tom isn’t really offering anything surprisingly different or new, with A Louer, which premiered at KVS (Brussels). I’ll side with the optimists. Once again they succeed in stopping time for just a short while. Once again they succeed in offering a piece that resembles a spellbinding comic-book: you keep on flipping those pages, wondering what’s going to happen next.
How to lie on a table for hours and pretend you’re dead: Mona Hatoum’s ‘The Negotiating Table’ (Meeting Points 6, Brussels)Posted in art, performance, photography with tags Argos, Brussel, Bruxelles, KVS, Meeting Points 6, Okwui Enwezor on October 3, 2011 by Utopia Parkway
Of course it was a doll. Life-size. No way anybody could lie there motionless, enwrapped in plastic, in this heat, for hours. But as I looked more closely I noticed the wrapping was moving. Up and down. Very slowly. Yep: it was indeed a living being, on that table.
My one-off weekend award for outstanding performance has to go to the girl re-performing Mona Hatoum‘s The Negotiating Table (1983), for the opening of Meeting Points 6, a contemporary art festival from the Arab world, presented by Argos & KVS (Brussels; through December 18). It is curated by Okwui Enwezor, director of Haus der Kunst (München), artistic director of Documenta 11 and artistic director of La Triennale (Paris, 2012). MP6 was launched in Beirut and will take place across eight cities. It explores the logics and practices of civic imagination. Missed it? The Negotiating Table will be performed again during a special marathon on December 3, with performances at Argos and KVS. I wonder if it will be the same girl. Oh, and if you hear someone singing This is propaganda when you’re visiting the exhibition; yep: it’s by Tino Sehgal. Him again.
People sometimes mock Belgian playwright and theatre director/legend Jan Decorte, for the so-called simplicity of his texts and the plays he brings to the stage. Buy a ticket for Oedipus/bêt noir, the newest piece by renowned Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus, and you’ll see: Decorte’s work is far more clever than you’d think and it really isn’t that easy to cover (if you allow me to borrow a term from the pop world). I left the theatre (KVS, Brussels) with mixed feelings: the dance sections often are quite powerful and beautiful, Vandekeybus comes up with some strong visual images, but actors (and director) are struggling with Decorte’s text and don’t seem to have found the right path that would lead them to a really convincing performance.
When everyone’s standing in front of a well-known sculpture, looking at it, don’t you feel compelled to go and look at it from behind? Just to see if it offers a totally different perspective, maybe? That’s what I like about Desdemona, by Toni Morrison, Rokia Traoré & Peter Sellars. Sure, we all know that woman from Shakespeare’s Othello, but who is she really? By trying to fill the gaps, Morrison, Traoré, Sellars and actress Elizabeth Marvel end up with a performance somewhere between literature, live music and theatre. Maybe it will be different for you, but I left the theatre (KVS, Brussels) totally enchanted by Traoré’s voice and music.