Fernand Bragard from Liège composed acrobatic acts on the ground and in the air, often with a humorous streak. With his partners isidore Dosquet and Jules Wansart, he founded the trapeze trio ‘The Flying Léo-Tard’. Their name was a tribute to French trapeze artist Jules Léotard, who, in 1859, was the first to jump from one trapeze to another, thus launching a new discipline: the flying trapeze. ‘The Flying Léo-Tard’ performed flying trapeze acts for over thirty years.
On 25th May 2011 the world-renowned Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris presented Rain, its first ever performance of a choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. The filmmakers Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes followed the rehearsal process from the auditions to the opening performance. The documentary focuses on how De Keersmaeker and the Rosas dancers convey the dance idiom of the choreographer to the classically trained ballet dancers. The rigidity of ballet gives way to another kind of severity, namely the mathematical pattern of Rain, which, however, conceals a powerful emotional layering. A poetic documentary about searching, looking and hesitating within the walls of the opera, which at times can be claustrophobic.
Due to its strategic situation opposite to Crimea, Sinop (Turkey) was once one of the most important cities of the Black Sea region. For the opening of the second Sinop Biennale, I drifted towards the horizon on board of a cardboard scale model of the Göke, a prestigious ottoman war ship built during the era of Sultan BeyazIt II. The local orchestra accompanied my performance with a lot of enthusiasm. The ship floated for about six minutes, and then abruptly sunk.
Pictured: Interchangeable paper wings for the puppet box*, and the “last” Liège puppeteers in 1931.
You must venture, once night has fallen, into places of doubtful security… [It isn’t] in the centre of town that you rout them out, but in the surroundings of workers’ sections at alley crossroads and in constricted cul-de-sacs. Look on the winding Basse-Sauveniere street, between its low class cabarets in the Couronne cul-de-sac that pours out its somber inhabitants into Hors-Chateau street… in the narrow passages that vomit their floods of tattered beggars onto the clamouring thoroughfares that plow through St Margaret’s parish near Place Delcour, refuge of rag sellers and by the Ecoliers barracks. That is where you will find them.
(Rodolph de Warsage, quoted in Speaking in Other Voices: An Ethnography of Walloon Puppet Theaters)
*Full disclosure: The examples are German in origin, but of a style found across Western Europe.
On June 23, 2002, Francis Alÿs staged The Modern Procession, in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, to mark The Museum of Modern Art’s move from 11 West Fifty-third Street to MoMA QNS in Long Island City. Accompanied by New York City police, some one hundred participants set out at nine o’clock on that Sunday morning to walk through the streets of midtown, over the Queensboro Bridge, and up Queens Boulevard to MoMA QNS. They carried palanquins holding effigies of iconic works from the Museum’s collection, including Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avingnon and Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, as well as a living icon, the artist Kiki Smith.
The subdued rhythms of Banda de Santa Cecilia’s processional music set the marchers’ slow pace, motivating them as they grew increasingly hotter and more tired during the three hour trek from midtown to Queens. The music established the solemnity of the ritual. Clad in white, blue, and green shirts and black pants, the processors carried palanquins, roses, and banners; they strew rose petals along the path and walked dogs. The procession exuded a feeling of solemn joy and many onlookers felt compelled to join in and follow the unusual group of marchers over the bridge to Long Island City.
In the performance ‘buren’, we combine installation, video and performance. The videos portray women doing certain gestures that stem from daily activities. They reflect on how women are depicted in art history, contemporary art and in our society. The performance is a combination of tutorials, house tours, advertisement, etiquette and games, all with a great deal of care. The result is an installation that refers to domestic architecture, a constantly changing scene in which videos are shown and where the scenography is a performance.
working together with a video designer and a composer, sweat baby sweat becomes a work in which composed music and projected text take an important role next to the moving composition.
departure point is again the most cliché theme ever: a relationship between a man and a woman. by adding love song lyrics and by moments even mellow music one would expect a very theatrical approach, but the contrary is true.
Siet Raeymaekers - Nature Morte à la Madame May (2011)
Siet moves through the various physical stages that occur after death – from palor mortis to putrefaction. The stage is bare with only the projection of a rubbish tip on the back wall. Siet takes her position in front of the screen and becomes part of the scenery as she performs as the flesh and bones of Madame May, once a femme fatale, now just leftover chicken…
In Toestand a woman (Kristien De Proost) takes a good look at herself. She analyses herself with detachment and reveals herself in all sincerity to her audience. She promises to be objective and to confine herself to the facts. External features can be verified. But is this not an illusion? Doesn’t the truth lie precisely in what she does not reveal?
from K, a Society: Ten installations are displayed at one or more locations: with film images, objects and ‘situations’. The only living person involved is a guide who leads the audience from the one place to the other. K, a Society shows aspects of a society that is very similar to ours: it consists of a series of images in which trends that are found in our world are ‘translated’, blown up or brought to the surface. They are ‘de-pict-ions’ of characters we recognise from the real world. Characters who are also linked to the figures that populate Kris Verdonck’s earlier work.