ESSAY: The Need for a Simple Gesture
When The Lightness of Poetry is about the need for a simple gesture.
In all four performances, this theme emerges in a poetic way. In all their lightness and simplicity, the actions/works of art are coloured politically.
The film ‘The Ashes of Pasolini’ by Alfredo Jaar is the centrepiece of this programme, showing Jaar’s belief in the relationship between ethics and aesthetics, in which a society takes responsibility for its culture in an active and social manner. At first sight, the film is about the life and the possibly politically motivated murder of film director Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is a passionate indictment of political and cultural repression, past and present. In the current political climate in Europe, which has shifted so far to the right, Alfredo Jaar’s message with his portrait of Pasolini is of the highest importance.
This forms the starting point of Germaine Kruip (advisor to SIR) in composing When the Lightness Of Poetry. It is continued in the symbolic actions of Roman Ondák, in which he explores the codes between institutions, individuals and the public. In his performance Lucky Day (2006), a person casts part of the art budget – converted into glistening coins – into a fountain as a gesture to invoke good fortune .
In David Lamelas’ performance Time (1970), passers-by and watchers are asked to pass ‘time’ on at intervals of a minute. Lamelas: “It’s about social themes. We may come from different cultures and have different colours or religions, but we all share that one moment of the present.”
Rory Pilgrim believes in the possibility of allowing that which cannot be discussed to speak for itself, and takes simple, absurd but very human issues as the starting point for his artistic productions. In his composition ‘A ee el u?’ (2008), abstract sounds slowly change into the simple but effective question “Can I help you?” He thereby employs art as a means of action.
LONG-TERM PLAN FOR COOLSINGEL 2009-2011
Sculpture International Rotterdam (SIR), formerly the International Sculpture Collection, focuses its programme on developing new, international works of art for the City of Rotterdam in parallel with a number of large-scale restructuring projects. At the cutting edge of this programme is Coolsingel, a place where the memory of many events and feats of arms in Rotterdam’s history resides. With a major renovation just around the corner in 2011-2012, yet another chapter will be added to this rich history. In advance of this transformation by the Urban Construction and Housing Department, SIR developed a long-term plan for Coolsingel. Using temporary and semi-permanent art projects with international allure, SIR focuses on the history, the current state and the unpredictable future of Coolsingel. Within this framework, SIR is examining a new generation of artworks for this central area of Rotterdam. In September, the performance programme ‘When The Lightness Of Poetry’ will signal the start. At the end of 2009, Sculpture International Rotterdam hopes to install the sculpture ‘Cascade’ by Atelier van Lieshout on Churchillplein, and the opening of Paolo Pivi’s sound studio is expected before Christmas.
Germaine Kruip (advisor to SIR), composer of the performance programme ‘The Lightness Of Poetry’.