Conversations (at the end of the world)

14.01.2020 - 24.02.2020

On tour
BE / NL / FR

What do you say, do or make when the end is nigh? In Conversations at the end of the world, a new piece by Kris Verdonck / A Two Dogs Company for large auditoria, five figures find themselves in an empty theatre space. They have only their bodies, their capabilities and the time that is left to them. Together these five figures, played by Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and the renowned pianist Marino Formenti, create a portrait of humankind in the crazy twentieth century – a century in which man’s image has been significantly eroded and whose wounds we still carry with us today. Waiting for the catastrophe that is inevitably coming, or in the midst of it, they welcome the audience to ‘a last evening’. When faced with death, the characters react with boredom, panic, madness, lethargy, nonsense and absurdity. Their absurdity is fed by the crazy logic of the war, ecological disasters, and all kinds of crises. Despite being in shock, they try to understand what is going on outside, and it is this absurd reaction to a cruel reality that lies behind this project.


CONVERSATIONS (at the end of the world) // a production of A Two Dogs Company (BE), Het Zuidelijk Toneel (NL) and a coproduction with Kaaitheater (BE), Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Fondation d’entreprise Hermès within the framework of the New Settings program (FR) 

Something (out of nothing) // A Production of A Two Dogs Company & ICK

10.01.2020 - 08.02.2020

On tour
BE / NL

What is the place of the human in a world in which ecological catastrophe and technology are fundamentally challenging this position? The new performance by Kris Verdonck explores the physical and mental state of being in the face of an impending extinction.
The combination of a merciless desire for profit and growth with technological developments, has reduced the human to a disposable object. Making the landscape in which we live inhabitable is the next step. What remains after social, economic and ecological elimination? The dancers wandering around in Something(out of nothing), are oftentimes not more than silhouettes or shadows. They are the ghosts that are the consequence of the destructive dynamics between humanity and the landscape, which in the performance is evoked by large inflatable sculptures, noise cello player Leila Bordreuil and a robot drum. 

SOMETHING (out of nothing)

Thesauros, The Treasury.

04.01.2020 - 18.01.2020

SomoS
Berlin (D)

As the debut exhibition on SomoS’ 2020 program, between January 4 and 18, the results of Belgian visual artist Jan Verbruggen’s three month artist residency are presented in his solo exhibition Thesauros, The Treasury.

Traversing the fields of painting and installation, Verbruggen brings together an extensive collection of acrylic, oil, watercolor and alkyd lacquer paintings on wood in the interactive exhibition; Thesauros, The Treasury. Viewing his artistic role as similar to that of a cartographer, Verbruggen’s paintings establish what can be thought of as an associative, whimsical map, that can be shaped and reshaped by viewers.

Photo: Studio view 'Thesauros installation' at SomoS, Berlin, Germany

Kris Verdonck at Klinkende Stad 2019

22.11.2019 - 08.12.2019

Muziekcentrum TRACK
Kortrijk (B)

Human emotion and the capacity for abstraction are possibly expressed most powerfully in music and the playing of an instrument. Music is also of the gods, from the heavenly sounds on Mount Olympus to the harmony of the spheres that resounds in the universe.

BRASS is a ghost orchestra. The three sousaphones play themselves, and appear to be floating. The machines, automated instruments, are the source of the music in a place where man and the gods are no longer around. These sousaphones were developed by Decap, specialists in the creation of automated musical instruments. They ‘play’ passages based on a theme from the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell and works by Erik Satie. Their rotating movements create a slow-motion Doppler effect, whereby sounds sometimes come together and then move apart again. In BRASS, Kris Verdonck continues his research into theatre without performers. Given the increasing technologisation of society and the destruction resulting from war and climate change, the possibility of a world without people has never been so likely. The sound nevertheless has human features: breathing, blowing, ‘practising’ and warming up. The instruments are suspended in a dark room, in a perpetuum mobile – their material gleams, but the body they normally rest on is no longer there.

Klinkende Stad
Kris Verdonck

Kris Verdonck at November Music 2019

02.11.2019 - 09.11.2019

Werkwarenhuis
Den Bosch (NL)

Human emotion and the capacity for abstraction are possibly expressed most powerfully in music and the playing of an instrument. Music is also of the gods, from the heavenly sounds on Mount Olympus to the harmony of the spheres that resounds in the universe.

BRASS is a ghost orchestra. The three sousaphones play themselves, and appear to be floating. The machines, automated instruments, are the source of the music in a place where man and the gods are no longer around. These sousaphones were developed by Decap, specialists in the creation of automated musical instruments. They ‘play’ passages based on a theme from the Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell and works by Erik Satie. Their rotating movements create a slow-motion Doppler effect, whereby sounds sometimes come together and then move apart again. In BRASS, Kris Verdonck continues his research into theatre without performers. Given the increasing technologisation of society and the destruction resulting from war and climate change, the possibility of a world without people has never been so likely. The sound nevertheless has human features: breathing, blowing, ‘practising’ and warming up. The instruments are suspended in a dark room, in a perpetuum mobile – their material gleams, but the body they normally rest on is no longer there.

November Music
Kris Verdonck

David Bowen - Tele-present wind in 'Plein Vent'

19.10.2019 - 30.11.2019

Halle aux Sucres
Dunkerque (F)

tele-present wind - 2018 - This installation consists of a series of 126 x/y tilting mechanical devices connected to thin dried plant stalks installed in a gallery and a dried plant stalk connected to an accelerometer installed outdoors. When the wind blows it causes the stalk outside to sway. The accelerometer detects this movement transmitting the motion to the grouping of devices in the gallery. Therefore the stalks in the gallery space move in real-time and in unison based on the movement of the wind outside.

Halle aux Sucres
Projet COAL
David Bowen

Kris Verdonk in JRSLM - Paradise Lost Again

17.10.2019 - 17.11.2019

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Brussels (B)

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
(Samuel Beckett, Murphy)

In the installation DETAIL, a large and massive boulder hangs on the ceiling. It is hanging on a steel cable, on a ball bearing, allowing it to fully turn around its axis. The ball bearing is put in motion by a steel wheel rotated by a motor which takes its energy from solar panels. The whole chain leads to a relatively simple situation: whenever the sun shines, the boulder turns around its axis. Once the sun shines, and therefore the stone starts to revolve, the mechanism is simultaneously unrelenting: the fatalism of a world that has to and will turn. A mobile with sunlight. A surreal image with an undertone of danger and yet fascinating at the same time. 

The whole (complicated) technical construction has no other goal than to have the “poetry” of a heavy colossus float and turn around. DETAIL is in this sense a pointless use of knowledge and material which makes it even all the more alienating. The question can also be put forward as to whether many other developments that we call ‘technical progress’ really do help the world. The destructive potential of ever greater, faster, more efficient and automatic algorithms, processors, motors and fire power assert their influence on a daily basis in wars and in the depletion of our planet. Where is technological knowledge taking us and does it make us able to handle the problems of our age for the most part caused by ‘technological progress’? DETAIL is then also a stationary situation: frozen, hanging in the air, turning in circles in a vacuum.

JRSLM
Kris Verdonck

David Bowen at Saint-Ex Reims

10.10.2019 - 18.12.2019

Saint-Ex
Reims (F)

tele-present wind, 2019 consists of a series of 42 x/y tilting mechanical devices connected to thin dried plant stalks installed in a gallery and a dried plant stalk connected to an accelerometer installed outdoors. When the wind blows, it causes the stalk outside to sway. The accelerometer detects this movement transmitting the motion to the grouping of devices in the gallery. Therefore, the stalks in the gallery space move in real-time and in unison based on the movement of the wind outside.

Saint-Ex
David Bowen

Kris Verdonck at Nuit Blanche Brussels

05.10.2019

Nuit Blanche
Tour & Taxis, Brussels (B)

Kris Verdonck - MASS #2  is a poetic, moving landscape. A graphite-grey mass flows slowly as if it was water. The matter appears light and yet heavy at the same time. And, as if tectonic plates are interacting, the spectator sees mountains and valleys created before his eyes, only to dissolve in the next instant. A living landscape, geology in a time-lapse. 

HUMAN >< NATURE
In the Anthropocene period – a term that describes the current period, which started when human activities began to have a global impact on climate – natural disasters and climate change are a constant reminder that nature will always have the last word.

Yet, although humans seem powerless against the forces of nature, there is an urgent need to take action and reconnect with nature in the context of sustainable deliberations and processes.
The 2019 NUIT BLANCHE intends to examine the impact of the Anthropocene period on Earth’s ecosystem, the need to take account of nature and the role of artists in creating an awareness of climate-related issues.
How can we change the way we live in the world and our relationship with nature when faced with rampant globalisation and urbanisation?

This 17th edition will take place from 7 pm to 3 am during the night of Saturday 5 October, in the area around Tour & Taxis, which is both a former symbol of Brussels’ industrial bloom and next to one of the largest green spaces in Brussels.

Kris Verdonck
Nuit Blanche 2019

Kiki Smith at Centre de la gravure et l'image imprimée - La Louvière

05.10.2019 - 23.02.2020

Centre de la gravure et l'image imprimée
La Louvière (B)

KIKI SMITH
ENTRE CHIEN ET LOUP
(IN THE TWILIGHT)

The title of Kiki Smith’s exhibition refers to that particular hour when day becomes night, that moment when the dog must protect the sheep and when the wolf makes use of the darkness to come out of the wood!

All of Kiki Smith's art works oscillate between light and darkness, evolve from the quiet nature towards the untamability of certain animals, enter the world of the night, that particular moment when pleasure and fear come together.

Sometimes, the artist speaks without any taboos of the bestiality hiding in humanity. She reveals our unfathomable fears, what is haunting the depths of our intimacy and what we would like to keep hidden. Sometimes, she juxtaposes fragments of images of her body in disturbing positions or of female organs, in an attempt to undermine the traditional representations of the stereotypical image of a woman.

However, by screaming at the moon, the wolf – just like Kiki Smith - also refers to its strength; that of the spiritual energy and of the unconsciousness to which universal knowledge is accessible. They both get connected with the world, its myths and symbols, as well as with the laws of nature.

After all, the blue hour, another metaphor of this uncertain interval between day and night, is also considered the best hour to smell the scent of flowers and to hear the birds sing. In many of her most recent works, Kiki Smith tries to capture and translate this ephemeral symphony; it’s an allegory of a world in which concord and serenity would reign for a brief moment.

Entre Chien et Loup