Jérôme Bel, famous French choreographer and conceptualist, and Theatre HORA are performing this weekend in Warsaw and Poznań: on Friday and Saturday, 20 & 21 September (8 pm) during the 12th International Contemporary Dance Body/Mind Festival at Warsaw’s Studio Theatre, and on Sunday, 22 September (8 pm) as part of CK ZAMEK’s performance art programme #you are not indifferent to me (episode 4: The Norm Pitfall) in Poznań.
In his Disabled Theatre, Jérôme Bel (born 1964), known also as “a philosopher of dance”, is once again testing the limits of theatrical conventions. Through his work with mentally disabled dancers he draws the audience’s attention to the aesthetic and deeply political dimension of gaze as a means of legitimising social norms. “Unattractive” images are effaced from our range of vision, along with uncomfortable subjects. Disabled actors remain off stage. Both at the theatre and in real life, they are the invisible protagonists who hardly ever are given the floor to speak. HORA’s performance act is a inquiry into the essence of artistic freedom, the interrelation of the audience’s comfort and the actors’ liberty, and the right to look. It also asks about the involvement of theatre in social changes.
Jérôme Bel has always been fascinated with the artistic underground: gray areas backstage, rejected stories locked in closets, moving inanimate matter, and intertextuality in dance. Over the years he has become the spokesman for stage exclusion.
The objective of Theater HORA, established in 1993 in Zürich (Switzerland), is to promote the artistic development of people with learning difficulties. To date, the theatre has produced about fifty theatre pieces in association with directors and choreographers from across the globe. It also organises art exhibitions, music projects (HORA’BAND) and international theatre festivals. Being part of HORA’s professional team of performers gives the actors the opportunity to exhibit their extraordinary abilities to a wide audience, and makes it possible for their important voice to be heard in the artistic space. Theatre HORA is fighting for this voice to be present in art and heard by the general public.
This is Jérôme Bel’s fourth appearance at the Body/Mind Festival already. In 2001 he danced in
Jerôme Bel; in 2005 he showed his Shirtology, in which he communicated with the audience with the use of T-shirts, and gave his famous talk on the controversial The Last Performance; in 2012 he realised The Show Must Go On, a show featuring twenty Warsaw-based performers.
After the Warsaw performance of 20 September, at around 9.30 pm, Justyna Sobczyk will host an open meeting with the artists. In Poznań, the audience of Disabled Theatrewill have a chance to discuss the piece and other events of #you are not indifferent to me (part 4: Trapped by Norm) during a Drama Discussion Club meeting on 23 September, at 6 pm, hosted by Ewa Obrębowska-Piasecka.
Conception: Jérôme Bel
translation: Artur Zapałowski
performance: Remo Beuggert, Gianni Blumer, Damian Bright, Matthias Brücker, Matthias Grandjean, Julia Häusermann, Sara Hess, Miranda Hossle, Peter Keller, Lorraine Meier, Tiziana Pagliaro
dramaturgy: Marcel Bugiel
production manager: Ketty Ghnassia
artistic director of Theatre HORA: Michael Elber
Theatre HORA training session participants: Urs Beeler
director of Theater HORA: Giancarlo Marinucci
production / trip organiser: Theatre HORA – Stiftung Züriwerk (Zurich)
coproduction: Theatre HORA , RB Jérôme Bel, AUAWIRLEBEN Festival (Bern), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Documenta (13), Festival d’Avignon, Ruhrtriennale, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Les Okulary gospodach – Centre Pompidou (Paris), La Bâtie – Festival de Geneve, HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin)
supported by: Stadt Zürich Kultur, Kanton Zürich Fachstelle Kultur, Pro Helvetia, Stiftung Denk Mich, Ernst Göhner Stiftung
premiere: May 2012, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels
duration: 90 minutes