play*ground / by fariba mosleh

Already for the 12th time two quite different art institutions in Leuven, a beautiful town about 25km or a half hour train ride away from Brussels, cooperate, and open their houses for artists experimenting on the intersection of performance and visual art at the PLAYGROUND Festival. This year the festival took place from 15th to 18th of November again at Museum Leuven and STUK - House for dance, image and sound. The festival title refers to the aim that the local and international more “emerging” than “established” artists from various fields should be given the chance to experiment within their artistic practise and - for those performing or presenting at Museum Leuven - getting into dialogue with the institution, the building, the permanent exhibitions and collections there.

“Playground” and the fact that the festival is scheduled during the whole day and in the eves might also suggest that it is an really vivid art festival for people of all ages … well, this year’s edition at Museum Leuven, where happens more the day program, came up with quite reluctant and sensitive performances. It is a kind of art history museum with a quite contemporary approach and also contemporary art exhibitions in a new & old architecture-wise interesting building in the city centre. I would like to mention the performance and installation Grammatica in the lobby; performance artist Evelien Cammaert and visual artist Joris Perdieus joint for the creation of a work which plays with the process of creating a piece of art. Using recent technological material discussing a highly art historical topic - the studio situation in the evolvement process of a canvas painting. Cammaert and Perdieus are sharing a quite unique and intimate moment with the audience. Grammatica opens up a mental space for the spectator, slowing down the individual’s speed and making it possible to let ones thoughts flow, at least for the period of the performance.
I further would like to mention the interventions by the artist Grace Schwindt, who designed costumes for two performers which she positioned in different rooms among the objects and visitors of the permanent collection - interacting with them with a minimum of movement, but a lot of power and for me as well humour. Addressing “humour” I’ve also to note these two strange but lovely big dolls dresses in swim suits made out for tulle moving around the ground floor of the museum within the performance Les Baigneurs referring to a plentitude of art history - a funny and visually catchy performance by Clédat & Petitpierre.
Whereas the evening program and performances at the fantastic highly interdisciplinary STUK building came up with a more powerful and “louder” program (which I couldn’t really enjoy as I had two girls on my side pleaguing me to drive back home ;).

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.