Israel Galvàn, FLA.CO.MEN, Araso

FLA.CO.MEN, Israel Galván's breathtaking breakaway

Israel Galván’s childhood memories are populated by a taste for salt and by the music of heels clacking like the sound of waves breaking onto the shore for some. Taka-gada-gagada…tac ! Acute like a needle, the last note is drilling the floor. 

With FLA.CO.MEN, Israel Galván has found the Holy Grail. He has the demential grace of those who, as they find themselves at the peak of their art, have nothing to prove. Far from the unnecessary pimping, Israel Galván presents his practice rough and ready whilst laying on a bed of humour. 

Israel Galván, FLA.CO.MEN, by Araso
Israel Galván, FLA.CO.MEN, by Araso

Standing in his white apron at his music stand, wearing a black corset over his denims or beaming in a red-dotted white flamenca dress, he fully enjoys a much deserved freedom some turn into a prison. A flamenco child prodigy, he proudly wears his title while fooling around.

With six musician including the Proyecto Lorca duo, he makes, unmakes and remakes the history of his dance until he reaches the core. Here is flamenco in its essence: a song about wandering, ethnic mix and freedom. 

FLA.CO.MEN by Israel Galván, an associated artist at the Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, is at Espace Cardin until June 29th 2017. The piece was created in 2016. 

Daniel Larrieu's Pierrot is in black

Daniel Larrieu’s Pierrot is in black. Not a mourning kind of black, rather the color of the night all wrapped up in its mysteries and transparency games. A gracious, clever like a cat Daniel Larrieu appears on stage with his customary lightness and impertinent gesture. A dancer, choreographer, author, gesture consultant, he who has a fondness for the shadows comes back in the spotlight with his latest piece Littéral, for which he is all of the above.

Daniel Larrieu in Littéral by Araso
Daniel Larrieu in Littéral by Araso

A 2017 creation, the work gathers six dancers and just as many brooms, which are suspended or held. The performers, whether males or females, successively put on the Pierrot dress over their ecru tights and baby pink skirts. The acting’s subtlety sets the accuracy of the gesture by the milligram, with mime and repetitions. The dance is the non-dribbling type, conscientiously avoiding the prettiness trap. 

Littéral is an infinitely poetical piece, in which everything was chosen with care until the traditional brooms made in France. It releases a sweetly dated, regressive perfume that gives way to aesthetics’ pleasure.

Littéral was presented by the Théâtre de l’Aquarium on June 17th 2017 in June Events Festival

Illustration © Araso

The apocalypse according to Hofesh Shechter

Grand Finale sounds like an apotheosis. In reality it’s a compilation, some enlivened Shechterian abstract. The Israeli choreographer gathered all of his distinguishing features including his very Rabbi Jacob-esque moves in this testament. War and violence, both recurring themes since Political Mother in 2010 are explicitly referred to through images of terrorism. There are very few moments without bodies dropping or corpses being dragged. In case one had forgotten what the world looks like in this early XXIth century, Grand Finale is a heavy reminder.

Hofesh Shechter, Grand Finale, illustration by Araso
Hofesh Shechter, Grand Finale, illustration by Araso

One can argue that Hofesh Shechter doesn’t renew himself much. But is it necessary? Upon seeing these bodies convulsing over highly saturated basses, this oven-sky night club, these dancers over performing a physical exuberance, one  is tempted to think they could die after spending just one night dancing like that.

Over the thick black walls ready-to-print gravestones, beyond the live orchestra hopping on stage in a hotchpotch of sounds of the world: there they are. Precious moments of wild, tribal and uncompromising dance.  

Hofesh Shechter, Grand Finale, world premiere in La Villette with the Théâtre de la Ville until June 24th 2017 

Illustration © Araso

Ali Charhour's ballet of shadows

Each and every move happens on the dot in this performance. Everything is under control yet reeks of freedom.

With May he rise and smell the fragrance, Ali Charhour glorifies the voice of a woman in mourning while playing with the codes of a both traditional and modern Arabic world. She sings the lamentations as her son (Ali Charhour), still warm, is laying convulsing at her feet. Her phenomenal vocal spectrum covers lullabies and the barking of a bitch with equal grace. The body is uncensored, but by its own hair. The thick, black hair of stunning Hala Omran cascades down her naked breasts in the same way that Abed Kobeissy’s covers his face. The latter forms the musical Two or The Dragon with Ali Hout, also performing on stage with his hair down to lower back. 

Hala Omran in May he rise and smell the fragrance by Ali Charhour, illustration © Araso
Hala Omran in May he rise and smell the fragrance by Ali Charhour, illustration © Araso

Traditional dances find a second life nested in Ali Charhour’s frail yet grown masculine pelvis. His slender silhouette beats the floor to the rhythm of the percussions playing live or to the silence of his own body hitting the surface.

A series of incredibly poignant images are put in depth of field with cinematographic aesthetics thanks to a brilliant kaleidoscopical light design.

Somewhere between dream, death, femininity and poetry, a male raises from of the ashes. 

Performance seen on June 6th 2017 at the Théâtre de l’Aquarium within the June Events Festival.

Nicht Schlafen: Alain Platel's plea for the 21st century

The style of Alain Platel’s dance company, the “ballets C de la B”, has grown so familiar we tend to forget that once upon a time the Belgian choreographer was starting off as a self-taught-man. Those pelvis, legs and feet are the anchor of explicit movements, those arms cutting through the air, those grabbing, caressing and tearing hands are as many shades of the sublime.  

Nicht Schlafen plays with all of the above-mentioned codes. By way of introduction, please find attached some torn gunny  walls and a strange altar of dead horses. The decor makes a unique time zone happen, where the early years of an uncertain and shaky 20th century and the beginning of this century with its load of bucked up nationalisms, Trumps, Daesh and Brexit overlap.

Nicht Schlafen, Alain Platel, illustration Araso
Nicht Schlafen, Alain Platel, illustration Araso

Steven Prengels’s musical landscapes, the dangling mikes amplifying mouvements on the set and the beasts gasping beyond the grave create panoramas for archaic beauties and anxiety. The implicit words of historian Philipp Blom about Europe between 1900 and 1914 resonate through Gustav Mahler’s most famous symphonies including the masterful tear-filling 5th.

One could not have dreamt of a better way to re-open MC93 after the venue had shut down for three years to undergo major transformations. Those caravagesque images, flamboyant bodies, tribal incantations sung and knocked on the floor by voracious animals with absolute abnegation lay the foundations for tomorrow. 

Nicht Schlafen, performance seen at MC93 in Bobigny between May 24th and May 27th 2017.
Currently on a European tour

Damien Hirst Palazzo Grassi (c) Araso

Damien Hirst knows how to build a brand

With his current exhibition at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, Damien Hirst positions himself not only as a visual artist whose creativity blossoms in many ramifications but as an expert in story-telling

The concept is rooted in a real legend: the tale of Cif Amotan II, an emancipated slave of the Roman empire. His fortune made, he gathered his wealth amongst which an army of artworks and artefacts and loaded it on his boat the Apistos. The ship wrecked whilst sailing towards a temple where the collector intended to store his treasure. 

Damien Hirst, Demon with Bowl, Palazzo Grassi, Venezia

In the show, it’s incredibly hard to tell the true from he fake : from the Demon with Bowl, an 18-metre high resin sculpture of a giant without a head, supposedly a copy of an original piece found onboard, to the wonderfully detailed documentaries, everything is larger than life.

Damien Hirst, Andromeda and the Sea Monster, Palazzo Grassi, Venezia
Damien Hirst, Andromeda and the Sea Monster, Palazzo Grassi, Venezia

Next to hyper realistic piece, a seashell Mickey amongst other works sets the visitor thinking. Damien Hirst follows the logic endlessly with copies of fakes and fakes of fakes.

Damien Hirst, Mickey, Palazzo Grassi, Venezia
Damien Hirst, Mickey, Palazzo Grassi, Venezia

A stroke of genius, the exhibition attracts growing crowds and has already become viral. DNA, indefinitely declinable codes, an element from the past, a glamorous character and the treasure hunt as a hook : all of the ingredients for success are aboard this ship. 

Contact us for a more detailed analysis.

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice, until December 3rd  2017  

Images © Araso and Mathieu Dochtermann