Davide Balula – Dust and Spores on a Dancer’s Clothes (2018)
 
Davide Balula (b. Vila Dum Santo, Portugal, 1978 – lives and works in New York, USA) makes use of all the elements (earth, water, air and fire) and of all states of matter (solid, liquid and gas). In his multidisciplinary and multimedia practice, art can take the form of sculpture, photographs and performances – in which he often works with dancers and musicians – but also of sound compositions, measuring instruments and scientific experiments. He is inspired by audio-visual and biomedical technologies, chemistry and physics, and brings that scientific knowledge into the realm of art in order to expand the boundaries of what can be perceived and imagined. He has, for example, created sculptures that evolve according to spectators’ internet flows . But he has also soaked paintings in streams, buried them underground and placed them in climate chambers. He is known particularly for his series of ‘burnt paintings’, which consist of pieces of burnt wood and their imprints on canvas.
 
For Brief Encounters, he is further developing this series of works, this time with a performative method. Six dancers, dressed completely in white, perform a choreography that is based entirely on the instruction for them to become stained with forest soil and other natural elements. With this work, Balula is literally returning people to the earth from which they came. At the same time he is creating living paintings, in the tradition of Yves Klein.
 
concept
Davide Balula
 
choreography
Mirabelle Marden
 
performers
Audrey Apers
Vera Goetzee
Christian Guerematchi
Lily Kiara
Anne Roeper
Johnny Schoofs

 
costumes
Ben & Géraldine Ducros
 
special thanks
Ty Boomershine
Marjolein Vogels
Heather Ware

 


Davide Balula – Mimed Sculptures (2016)


 

Thorsten Brinkmann – No Hope, No Pose (2018)
 
He always has an overall idea in mind but on his trips to flea markets and second-hand shops, Thorsten Brinkmann (b. Herne, Germany, 1971, lives and works in Hamburg) is never looking for specific objects. Such an approach prevents you from noticing the surprises you might come across, and it would also make the work process considerably less appealing. Brinkmann finds the joy of his artistic practice in discovering and then playing with his finds, which all show signs of use and carry stories within themselves.
This in no way means that his playful sculptures, portraits and installations are not created with the utmost care. Brinkmann begins by ‘dressing up’, for example, by putting a pedal bin over his head. Then he reacts to what he sees, making adjustments until he is satisfied with the metamorphosis. He bases the compositions, poses and lighting of his self-portraits, featuring both male and female characters, on those of iconic paintings, which also makes them resemble painted works. These are subsequently incorporated into installations, photographs and videos, along with items of clothing belonging to the artist and casts of his body parts. The artist’s face always remains hidden, however. It is not the artist himself but the art that should be the focal point, and Brinkmann wants to keep possible interpretations as open as he can. In this way, he humorously makes his viewers reflect upon their relationship with the objects that surround them and help to determine their identity.
 
Although Brinkmann always depicts his characters himself and never presents them live to an audience, but only in front of a camera or a video camera, the artist will, for the first time, perform a number of his stereotypical characters live for Brief Encounters. The characters, a king, Venus , a bird, a horse rider and a guard, stand majestically on white pedestals, making minimal movements. Although based on iconic paintings, which always emphasise the fortitude, strength and/or beauty of the person who is portrayed, Brinkmann’s characters, in all their surrealistic forms, are clumsy, fragile and tragicomic. They are flawed heroes, who reflect our day-to-day worries and our mortality.
 
direction
Thorsten Brinkmann
 
performers
Roman Barkow
Thorsten Brinkmann
Tillmann Engel
Christiane Opitz
Stefanie Reimers

 
costumes & props
Thorsten Brinkmann
 
designs plinths
Thorsten Brinkmann
 
production plinths
Intia

 


Thorsten Brinkmann – Venus La Shade (2015)


 
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen – Mobile Mirrors (2018)
 
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen (b. Manila, Philippines, 1970, lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark) uses the body, usually her own but sometimes the bodies of family and friends, in order to comment on the social constructions that exist in society with regard to gender and cultural, religious and ethnic identity. Her practice consists mainly of theatrical performances before a live audience, for which she writes the words and music herself and designs the sets and costumes. Rasmussen’s starting point is always her own Filipino–Danish background. By taking on many roles in her performances, she tries both to be a spokesperson for oppressed voices and to express her own position in the world: she constantly has to adapt to situations and environments in which she does not feel entirely at home. Personal observations and experiences serve as a basis for telling universal stories about functioning in a performance-oriented, market-driven consumer society, in which people have to conform or be sidelined.
The audience is often involved in her performances in a playful way, or invited to take action themselves. In this way, Rasmussen forces the viewers of her work to become aware of their own position in relation to others within the large constructed system that we call society.
 
For Brief Encounters, Rasmussen proposed a new version of her 2012 performance Mobile Mirrors, a work previously performed in various forms in Lulea (Sweden), Cairo, Manila, Stockholm and New York. For Lustwarande, she has conceived a new composition and choreography. Six performers, including Rasmussen, are dressed in tight-fitting, body-enveloping costumes that are covered from head to toe in fragments of mirror, like on a disco ball. The performers move after one another through the wood, imitating the actions of the performer in front of them. Instead of being able to see themselves, they reflect only the surrounding nature and the people who are watching them. Mobile Mirrors (2018) literally holds up a mirror to viewers and passers-by, a mirror, however, that is mobile and completely fragmented, which means that both people and surroundings are reflected in a splintered form.
 
choreography
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
 
performers

Yuri Bongers
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
Lucas Devroe
Nataly Mercado
Emilia Sølvsten
Maia Sørensen

 
costumes
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen

 


Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen – Mobile Mirrors (2013)


 


 
Lee Mingwei – Song Forest (2018)
 
Almost all the work of Lee Mingwei (b. Taichung (TW), 1964, lives and works in Paris and New York) is not so much about the creation of art objects as about establishing intimate interpersonal contact. Without the visitor’s active participation, the work is incomplete and meaningless. Viewers receive simple instructions asking them to perform a certain action, thereby becoming a participant in the work. This active contribution to a project makes visitors highly aware of themselves and of the degree to which they, as individuals, are prepared to be vulnerable and to trust the artist and/or the other participant(s), often complete strangers. In the creation of this intimate contact, Lee makes use of different disciplines, such as architecture, dance, music and poetry.
 
Specially for Brief Encounters visitors were invited by an eight-year-old boy to sit on a chair in front of a woman at a grand piano, which had been placed in the woods. The woman was the renowned Taiwanese pianist PeiYao Wang – mother of the boy, Owen, and a good friend of Lee’s. The piano, Owen’s seat and the chair where the invited visitor sat, were on stages, the shape of which was based on abstract ripples in water, a design by David Lee, Owen’s father.
Wang gave one visitor at a time a brief private concert, while the other members of the audience watched the scene from a distance. She played pieces from Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes, 21 works for piano, which he composed between 1827 and 1846. Nocturnes (from the Latin nocturnus) are compositions inspired by the dreamy atmosphere of the night, which were popularised by Chopin.
 
It was a mesmerizing experience: the innocence of the young boy offering the invitation, the world-famous romantic sounds shimmering through the trees, played especially for you by a master pianist who was sitting right in front of you. Many visitors shed a tear.
 
concept
Lee Mingwei
 
pianist
PeiYao Wang
 
host
Owen Lee
 
design chair
Lee Mingwei
 
design platforms
David Lee
 
production platforms and chair
Intia
 
grand piano
Muziekzaak Grosveld
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
fotografie: Gert Jan van Rooij
 


 

Shana Moulton – Trapped in a Pyramid Scheme
(2018)
 
The artistic practice of Shana Moulton (b. Oakhurst, 1976, lives and works in Fresno) revolves around a woman who is searching for meaning and purpose in a commercial wasteland of consumer goods and beauty products. The role of that woman is played by Moulton’s alter ego, the naive Cynthia – Moulton in a wig. On her way to enlightenment, hypersensitive to the obsessions, neuroses and anxieties associated with contemporary Western society, Cynthia seeks refuge in TV gurus and all kinds of beauty products that are designed to combat the signs of ageing.
 
Cynthia is in many respects the product of Moulton’s own compulsive thoughts – and those of millions of others. The alter ego functions as an irrational self-portrait that has been created in order to submit to a world in which prescription medicines, esoteric movements and products targeted at female consumers by the health, wellness and beauty industries all combine equally to determine physical and mental wellbeing. In performances and videos that deliberately evoke a surreal Twin Peaks-like atmosphere, which is often as hilarious as it is terrifying, Cynthia moves through a pastel-coloured world of kitsch and decadence, which brings to mind the clichéd image of the west coast of America.
For Brief Encounters, Moulton created a performance, in which Cynthia was trapped inside a pyramid of wooden beams, to which various New Age items and physiotherapeutic devices were attached, all intended to improve her spiritual and physical state of being. While Cynthia attempted to free herself from the pyramid in a Houdini-like struggle that also evoked associations with the victims of medieval public torture, her prison gradually transformed into an orgone generator, a wooden cabinet that is believed to turn negative energy into positive energy, an invention created by the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. This allowed Cynthia to master the situation, and she experienced perfect balance in her spiritual, emotional and physical states; purifying freedom and peace of mind in the forest.
 
design pyramid
Shana Moulton
 
production pyramid
Mooi-Hout
 
sound engineering
StoffelSoundS

 
Trapped in a Pyramid Scheme was performed twice on 26 May.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
fotografie: Gert Jan van Rooij
 


 
Nick Steur – FREEZE, reflections (2018)
 
Nick Steur (b. 1982, Nijmegen, lives and works in Maastricht) always seeks out in his work the near-impossibility of defying natural forces, solely through the use of his own muscle power and extreme concentration and precision. He usually carries out his art projects in the public space, with natural materials such as stone, sand and water. Steur studied at the Toneelschool (institute of performative arts) in Maastricht and his work lies at the interface of visual and performing arts. The process, in the presence of the public, is at least as important to him as the result.
 
For Brief Encounters Steur conceived a new version of the work FREEZE, which he has realized in different ways since 2012. His original plan to allow two boulders of 50 to 70 cm height to be balanced in the pool in De Oude Warande could ultimately not be realised due to the current exceptionally high water level. In his new proposal Steur made use of this high water level. In the Romantic looking pool, the result of 19th century sand excavation for the production of cement, Steur arranged, in a two hours lasting performance, six stackings of Carrara marble stones and moonstones in a circular composition, each stone some twenty to forty centimeters high. The stackings seemed to float on the water surface. The audience seemed hypnotized.
 
production
Nick Steur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
fotografie: Gert Jan van Rooij