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Review, 5-2: Everybody out of the Pool
Treading water with Kinkaleri
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider
PARIS -- Technically
speaking, it wouldn't be just to critique Kinkaleri's "Pool," seen
Friday at the Centre Pompidou, strictly for its dance content; the
presenter lists the event as 'theater.' The PR indicates, however,
that the Tuscan collective is 'multi-disciplinary,' so how about
we say that as theater, "Pool" confuses absurdist with the merely
absurd; as music it's null; as visual art I'm not sure what it's
doing at the self-proclaimed largest home of modern art in Europe,
in the company of Picasso, Matisse, and Duchamp; and as dance, while
the movement is competently made and energetically executed, it's
undistinguished and indistinct.
Most of all, after starting
a list of objects and other tricks that should be banned from the
stage (if only to force choreographers to fill the void with actual
ideas) -- wind-up animals top my menu, but miked floors (I did my
best to make Kinkaleri regret this one, coughing more than usual
from the 'pool'side seating and thus making my contribution to the
sonic ambience) aren't far behind -- by the end of the show I was
left asking: What exactly in this work indicates any degree of study?
For what, if anything, that I'm seeing here was it necessary for
the artists involved to go to school, to train, to learn their various
arts? I'm not just talking about the lit candle in the naked butt
of one of the two male performers that greets us as we enter the
theater, but about most of what transpires. How is an education
in the theater suggested, for example, in the act of picking someone
out of the audience, taking them behind a screen and announcing
into the mic, "I'm about to hurt you"?
If "Pool" offers visual
moments that temporarily pique one's interest -- such as that in
which a man assiduously stuffs various-sized play-balls into new
wine glasses -- they don't stick, and they certainly don't cohere
into any kind of canvas, narrative or abstract.
I am no literalist.
Indeed, I believe that there is a beauty in the abstract in that
it frees us from familiar orders and narrative forms to enter the
unique order of the creator at hand. I don't need to be able to
make sense of that order -- to be able to explain it, to own it.
But I need to get the sense -- as one does, for instance, in the
spectacles of Pina Bausch or, if you like, the compositions of Charles
Ives -- that there is a proprietor behind the work. The mantle of
absurdism does not excuse the artist from the obligation to be rigorous,
just as the forum of a modern art museum does not excuse the curator,
here Serge Laurent, from the obligation to apply a standard beyond