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Utopia Parkway, It’s like… He talks a bit and she dances a bit - Hans-Maarten Post (28.01.2017)
Jury report 'het Theaterfestival 2017', INFINI 1-15 (31.05.2017)

Jury report 'het Theaterfestival 2017': Infini 1-15 by Decoratelier

In recent years, visual artist Jozef Wouters has risen to prominence with ingenious site-specific installations, performances, seating tribunes and sets for artists such as Meg Stuart and Claire Croizé. In INFINI 1-15 he steps out of the public space and into the large ‘box’ of the theatre. And rather than storming and conquering the surroundings, as you might expect from a young artist, Wouters negotiates the existing infrastructure with great intelligence. Inspired by the spectacles des machines of the eighteenth-century scenographer Giovanni Servandoni, he invited fourteen writers, theatre producers, choreographers and architects to create an infini: an interpretation of the painted backdrops that were once raised and lowered to lend depth to each new scene. Wouters reinvigorates this historic technique.

The shape of INFINI 1-15 cannot be seen: a performance with just sets, one might imagine. Crafted in Wouters’ Decoratelier, these pieces of scenery are both impressive and enchanting, even when at their most minimal. They fully succeed in turning the theatre into an imagination machine. For over four hours, and from the one seat, you journey through time and space: from dead-end Palestinian tunnels and the office of the European border guard agency, Frontex, to a pitch-black room. The theatre as a black cube, from which everything and nothing might arise.

INFINI 1-15 lends porosity to the boundaries between craftsmanship, art and scenography. Drawing on his vast knowledge and respect for theatre history, Wouters considers the future of the institute. In so doing, he incidentally proves that younger creators are unafraid of big auditoriums, as is often claimed. Furthermore, he is dismissive of the big messages presupposed by large auditoriums and reclaims the theatre as a studio, with space for experimentation. This thoughtful reflection on the theatre itself was greatly appreciated by the jury.

INFINI 1-15 not only researches which (utopian) landscapes we ought to depict in today’s theatre, but also the very act of looking. How can we rethink the central perspective of the classical theatre into an era in which nobody appears to be looking through the same glasses? Wouters shares his space with a wide range of up-and-coming international artists. It typifies the cooperative spirit of a generation of theatre-makers who don’t privilege their own ego and elevate the spirit of collaboration into their new credo. Instead of one perspective, you gain a kaleidoscopic view of the world. The outlook is nothing less than infinite... A performance as an unparalleled gesture.

Correspondents:
Anna Rispoli, Arkadi Zaides, Begüm Erciyas, Benny Claessens, Chris Keulemans, Jisun Kim, Jozef Wouters, Michiel Soete, Michiel Vandevelde, Rebekka de Wit, Remah Jabr, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Sis Matthé, Thomas Bellinck, Wim Cuyvers

INFINI 1-15 was presented May 2016 at the main auditorium of the Brussels City Theatre (KVS) during the Kunstenfestivaldesarts.

der Standard, Meg Stuart: Der wüste Schatz einer verlorenen Jägerin - Helmut Ploebst (21.04.2017) [ German ]
Ruhrtriennale Zeitung, It’s in the shape of fire - Jeroen Peeters (06.2017)
Ruhrtriennale Zeitung, Statt Werkstatt - Jeroen Peeters (06.2017) [ German ]

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