Gerhard Richter, une pièce pour le théâtre

    11/05  | 20:00
    12/05  | 20:00
    13/05  | 20:00
    14/05  | 15:00

€ 16 / € 13
2h 25min

Meet the artist after the performance on 12/05

Mårten Spångberg is a radical theoretician and pioneer of dance. Like no other he masters the art of leading the audience off into fascinating conceptual experiences of dance. For his latest creation, Spångberg is collaborating with nine renowned dancers. All of them are over 40 and have passed the peak of their physical form. On stage, they take the audience on an exploration of the concept of “loss” and how the decline in physical and mental health is managed. Seeking another relationship with this loss, the choreographer offers poetic alternatives to contemporary notions of achievement, usefulness and completeness. The dance is elegant, varied and rich in contrasts. The performers dance until the spectators also start to experience their own loss. What if it were a fellow traveller that everyone carries in them, a permanent “void” susceptible to being filled and producing new forms?

See also
Natten, The Series

By & with
Anne van Aerschot, Liza Baliasnaja, Renée Copraij, Christine De Smedt, Misha Downey, Hana Lee Erdman, Mette Edvardsen, Mark Lorimer, Sarah Ludi, Moya Michael, Carina Premer, Mårten Spångberg, Clinton Stringer, Marika Troili

Music provided by
KNB productions

With the assistance of
Louise Dahl, Alexandra Napier, Herman Sorgeloos

Made possible through
Interim AB & Johan Thelander

Thanks to
Linda Blomqvist, Anne-Cécile Sibué, Nikima Jagudajev

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, KVS


Black Box (Oslo), MDT (Stockholm)

With support from
VGC, The Swedish Art Council, The Swedish Art Grants Committee, The City of Stockholm

Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, KVS, MDT (Stockholm), PAF (St Erme)

Special acknowledgements
to the students at SNDO, with whom a work was developed for Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where ideas for Gerhard Richter, une pièce pour le théâtre were first tested; to the students at University Giessen – Department for Applied Theatre Studies, that took part in a workshop winter 2017, where important ideas were generated; to the dance and choreography students – 3rd year at The Danish National School of Performing Arts in Copenhagen, where the ideas gained new perspectives

Mårten Spångberg is associated artist at Black Box Teater, Oslo (2017-2018)

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It was perhaps 20 years ago that I first encountered Werner Hamacher’s text Amphora. We were not familiar and I read the text in a program booklet a little bit too fancy, but this was after all the 90s. Strange, this text has been a fellow traveller for more than two decades. It has been a companion that has been there without aspirations to guide or pave the way and it is precisely therefore that it has been so significant. Hamacher’s text I am sure brings other readers to different places or conclusions, but what I enjoyed was that there are no solutions or answers. Perhaps the text addresses space, perhaps the address is philosophy or maybe it speaks about aesthetic experience. They however have something in common, I believe. They are not helpful; space, philosophy and art give no support. A philosophy that gives advice has a different name, self-help literature. An art that is supportive might be called design. Design is useful, helpful. A philosophy that is helpful is evidently futile. An art that aspires to be, let’s say comforting, is nothing more or less than a nice cup of tea.

The amphora is a promise of an indifferent engagement, it is without aspirations. Perhaps what is so attractive with space, philosophy and art – at least space and art – Is their emptiness. I sink into space like I sink into an aesthetic encounter and I touch upon the possibility of experiences something that is not yet, something that is just about to arrive but still has no contours. I imagine Werner Hamacher’s text side by side with Jacques Rancière’s writings on the emancipation of the spectator. The aesthetic encounter is neither distance nor sharing, nor background or foreground but is emerging precisely in the indivisibility of opposites.

Gertrude Stein at some point got bored with drama. What she despised with drama was the feeling that she had to acquaint herself with the characters, sympathize with them, make friend. She preferred landscapes, because they are there and passive as long as you don’t step into them, but when you do they activate around you. You don’t need to befriend landscapes and most of all they don’t guide you to some other destination. The landscape is indifferent to you. It is there and you are welcome, but there will be no cocktails.

Once Gerhard Richter was interviewed by Nick Serota, the interview is in some documentary. At some point Serota asks Richter how it happened that he started to paint out of focus paintings in that particular moment. It’s evident that Serota is looking for something grand, something with the taste of art history, of references and precision. Gerhard Richter sits there in an all-together too expensive sofa, changes positon and, with his left hand touching his face, says with his German accent: “Well, you know. At that point… At that point it was possible.”

One option is to dismiss Richter for being an asshole. Such a greedy response, as if he had no influences or anything at all, but got his ideas from something above. But perhaps his proposal can be understood differently. Because it was possible can also point in a different direction. That there in fact was no reason behind it, that there was no reason or intellect that gave way for the paintings. There was no causality there, there was no cause and effect. It was just possible for a lot of reasons but none of them in respect of causality. It couldn’t happen the day, week or month before, but that very day, at that moment it was possible. This form of possibility can only emerge from an emptiness, from a sense of not yet.

Roland Barthes argues the following: you fall in love, you fall out of love, you recover from love and you fall in love again.

What a dull proposal. The French philosopher transforms love into a causal transaction, one that one can recover from. But must love not be something that one day was unthinkable and the next, exactly, possible. One doesn’t love for a reason, one loves because one loves.

Henri Michaud was once asked when the paintings in the Louvre were at their best. Many interesting answers appeared in my mind when I read the question, but never could I have imagined Michaud’s response: “Obviously when the museum is closed, because then the sculptures and paintings can enjoy themselves and be together.”

The work of mourning implies never to appropriate the dead, nor to substitute the dead with something else, but it is a matter of living in companionship with a palpable indifference, with something that gives no support and will never help, but in that darkness, in the indifference, lies the promise of “it was possible”.

Mårten Spångberg, May 2017

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Mårten Spångberg (b. 1968) is a choreographer living and working in Brussels and Stockholm. His interest concerns dance in an expanded field, something he has approached through experimental practice in a multiplicity of formats and expressions. He has been active on stage as a performer and creator since 1994, and since 1999 has been creating his own choreographies, from solos to larger scale works, which have toured internationally. Under the label International Festival, Spångberg collaborated with architect Tor Lindstrand and engaged in social and expanded choreography. From 1996 to 2005 he organised and curated festivals in Sweden and internationally, and in 2006 initiated the network organisation INPEX. He has considerable experience in teaching both theory and practice. From 2008 to 2012, he directed the MA programme in choreography at the University of Dance in Stockholm. In 2011, his first book, Spangbergianism, was published. Spångberg is professor in dramaturgy and choreography at Oslo National Academy of The Arts, departments of dance and theatre, and he is associated artist at Black Box Teater, Oslo (2017-2018). Spångberg presented La Substance, but in English at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2015, and Natten in 2016.

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