The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
Apr. 25, 2012
Presenter  Topics
Kunstenfestivaldesarts Program Announced (May 4–26, 2012)
The Kunsten Festival des Arts (Kunstenfestivaldesarts) is known as a festival that consistently provides one of the world’s leading programs of progressive and experimental works. Its unique programs are a mix of new works by recognized artists and works produced with promising young artists that the festival has sought out from around the world that makes the festival an epicenter for trends in the international performing arts scene. Now in its 15th holding, the 2012 program features many young artists presenting works in bolder and more direct means along with the likes of William Forsythe, Claude Régy and Jerome Bel.
Kunsten continues to expand not only in aesthetic directions but also in geographic focus. This time the focus is on the relationship between Africa and Europe’s. Republic of South Africa artist Brett Bailey creates exhibits of human beings, in the image of the ethnographic dioramas and “human zoos” of the colonial era in a project titled Exhibit B that questions the power relationships governing our post-colonial world. Choreographer Faustin Linyekula reflects on the brutal colonial reality of the era through a re-creation of the 1923 production La Création du monde that was called a “negro-cubist fantasy.” The representative post drama group Rimini Protokoll presents a work titled Lagos Business Angels that portrays a form of “reverse ethnology” based on the assumption that the GDP of Nigeria will have surpassed France’s by 2050 and Nigerian businessmen will be giving management advice to European businessmen.
This year’s program also has a predominance of Eastern European artists. The young Croatian director Oliver Frljić who has a reputation as something of a “theatre terrorist” presents Damned be the Traitor of His Homeland! About the trauma of the tragedy of the Balkan peninsula during the break-up of Yugoslavia; Hungarian director Árpád Schilling brings the work A papnő part of a trilogy centered on three members of a broken family and three attempts at “community”; South African director Kornél Mundruczô uses methodology that crosses the boundary between film and theater constantly in this work Disgrace based on the post-apartheid novel by J.M. Coetzee about racial issues in South Africa.
On the dance program are works by both established and emerging artists, including the Forsythe Company’s Sider, the 2011 Avignon Festival Associate Artist Boris Charmatz’s Enfant, Belgium-based American choreographer Eleanor Bauer’s Tentative Assembly (The Tent Piece) and a collaboration by four male choreographers (P. Ampe, G. Garrido, H. Heisig, N. Lucas) titled A Coming Community.

Festival Outline
Kunstenfestivaldesarts is a performing arts-focused contemporary arts festival held each May in Brussels, Belgium since 1994. In contrast to France’s Avignon Festival with its orientation toward mainstream European theater, Kunstenfestivaldesarts aims to present unique programming oriented more toward experimental work and global diversity. In addition to featuring artists from Belgium and across Europe, the festival reaches out to find young artists from emerging nations with less developed support networks and produce many works. The festival also takes a long-term perspective in the task of nurturing young artists that included multiple year joint production projects and supporting the production of new works by accomplished artist based in Belgium and other parts of Europe for world premieres. More than 50% of the program consists of works either produced by the festival or in collaboration and approximately half are world premieres. The artistic director from the festival’s founding until 2006 was Frie Leysen, when the post was handed over to her former right hand and programming director Christophe Slagmuylder.
+Kunsten Festival des Arts