Wed 24.03.2021 - Fri 02.04.2021

Vlaemsch

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Hans Op De Beeck / Eastman, De Munt & KVS
24.03.2021
-
02.04.2021

The polyphonic composer Guillaume Du Fay and the painter Jan Van Eyck – were they really as “Flemish” as some voices today would have them be? This is the question that choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and visual artist Hans Op de Beeck set themselves in Vlaemsch

Cherkaoui and Op de Beeck connect back to the culturally and economically prosperous Flanders of the fifteenth century. This was a period in which artists were at the vanguard of the region’s reputation. Flemish polyphonic composers influenced musical history just as the Early Flemish Painters (sometimes called the Flemish Primitives) influenced art. And it’s no coincidence that both movements are a recurring source of inspiration for Cherkaoui and Op de Beeck. 

It’s not romantic nationalism, but the obvious parallels between artists then and today that gives these makers a sense of connection with the protagonists of five centuries ago. The fiamminghi, as artists from the Low Countries were called, were seen as innovative, free spirits who refused to be constrained by traditional boundaries. And the artists themselves weren’t shy about experimenting in this way – they worked internationally and were consciously open to foreign influence. 

Dufay was the illegitimate son of a priest, and travelled from an early age. He studied first in France and was then active in both the Italian and Burgundian courts. He became one of the greatest Flemish composers of the fifteenth century and was a sought-after star in his day. So was Jan van Eyck, who became the best-known painter in Europe during his lifetime and is often referred to as the inventor of oil painting. Van Eyck began as Master at the court of Jan van Beieren, Count of Holland in The Hague. After his patron’s death, he moved to Bruges where he became court painter to Philip the Good. He produced comparatively little in that period because of the frequent diplomatic missions he was sent on, but it was these journeys that enabled him to keep his finger on the pulse of developing artistic trends that then found their way into his own work. 

In this piece, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Hans Op de Beeck go on a quest for that pluralistic identity, developed from a melting pot of influences, and launch a new renaissance. Vlaemsch is an aesthetic, philosophical manifesto by two modern Flemish Masters. 

Cherkaoui and Op de Beeck collaborated for the first time in 2018 on Stoic, the final piece of Cherkaoui’s trilogy for the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani. Hans Op de Beeck’s musical language seemed to fit seamlessly with Sidi Larbi’s movement work, and vice versa. This first artistic collaboration revealed shared interests and perspectives that led directly to a rough sketch for Vlaemsch

La Monnaie and KVS join forces to bring to the stage – a prestigious collaboration as part of Troika. 

Credits

REGIE & CHOREOGRAFIE / MISE EN SCÈNE & CHORÉGRAPHIE / DIRECTION & CHOREOGRAPHY Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui DECORONTWERP / CONCEPTION DÉCOR / SET DESIGN Hans Op de Beeck

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