Playground is the festival where performing arts and visual arts meet. The black box of the theatre and white space of the exhibition gallery inspire each other more than you may think at first glance.
In the Playground exhibition, the installations and videos focus on performance in all its guises. Candice Breitz shows an improvised theatre performance featuring twins, Johanna Billing documented a choreographed routine performed by amateur dancers, and Bestué-Vives compile a number of hilarious mini actions set at home. The exhibition also features new works by Hans Demeulenaere, Joachim Koester and Denicolai & Provoost.
The performances staged during Playground are often centred on works of art. The pop art works by Guy de Cointet play a leading part in IGLU, James Beckett incorporates a real museum in his performance and Markus Schinwald has a dancer (Oleg Soulimenko) exploring a sculpture on stage. Naomi Kerkhove & Ruben Nachtergaele made a performance where the setting is manually made of white fabrics and black threads.
Sometimes the actors on stage interact with ‘dummies’ or mannequins, like in the performances of Ivana Müller and Gisèle Vienne & Etienne Bideau-Rey.
This cross-pollination often produces innovative ideas and surprising formats. A library with living books (Mette Edvardsen), a journey around the museum rooms of M with a pair of wireless headphones as your only guide (Lundahl & Seitl), or a performance where the public will watch a ‘famous person’ fall asleep (Denicolai & Provoost).
Then, there are the surprises that regularly pop up, announced or unannounced. Nina Beier will ask a contemporary dancer to perform all the moves she remembers from her professional dance career. Dora Garcia sends her prophets who will predict what will happen in the next 24 hours.
The festival closes with a symposium: How do art institutions go about collecting, documenting and restaging live performances? With this fourth edition, Playground once again aims to present a dialogue of artists, performances and works of art in this exciting playground across disciplines.