In a Flickering Light, the performance by artist duo Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen, has five characters: four actors, and the light of a screen. The light of the screen–of which the audience sees only the reflection–makes the muscles of the four actors react, contract and contort. Their faces smile, get scared, cry and admire. The facial expressions of the faces lit by the screen change from mask to mask. Are these masks a reaction to what they see on the screen? Or are they a ritualised expression of their feelings? They could also be read as an exposé of a canon of facial expressions, reminiscent of the series of frozen grimaces that Franz Xaver Messerschmidt sculpted between 1770 and 1783. At the end of his life, he obsessively studied himself in the mirror–like a kind of Narcissus–creating self portraits possessed by a spirit that visited him at night. All faces, if we do an exercise in abstraction and see them on a close-up, become masks. Masks evoke the Jungian archetypes, such as those Grotowski worked with in his “Poor Theater,” searching for the expression of a sharpened consciousness.
Curated by Marta Ramos
Performed at MACBA, Barcelona and Veem House for Performance, Amsterdam