Otto Piene was an artist whose light-based sculpture work occupied the intersection of light, technology, art, movement, and environment.
First produced using hand-operated lamps directed through perforated stencils, Piene’s “Lichtballett” (light ballet) performances of moving light became mechanized in the 1960s.
The artist’s early light sculptures consisted of revolving lamps, grids, globes, and discs operated by electric switchboards, causing what he described as “the steady flow of unfurling and dimming, reappearing, and vanishing light.”
Otto Piene (pronounced PEE-nah, 18 April 1928 – 17 July 2014) was a German-American artist specializing in kinetic and technology-based art, often working collaboratively. He lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Groton, Massachusetts.
Piene also experimented with multimedia combinations. In 1963, together with Günther Uecker and Heinz Mack, he became a spokesman of Neuen Idealismus (“the new idealism”). In 1967 Otto Piene premiered Proliferation of the Sun at Aldo Tambellini’s Black Gate Theater, and in 1968 he collaborated with Aldo Tambellini on the Black Air at the Black Gate Theater.
The Proliferation of the Sun 1966-1967 (35 minute performance hand painted glass slides, sound, and five carousel projectors)
Gravity defying mobile bamboo sculptures; bamboo calligraphies in balance. The mathematics and the energy of bamboo inhabiting the spaces.
The gravity-defying bamboo sculptures by Laurent Martin “Lo” swing in the air, drawing curves of harmony like the gracious strokes of Chinese calligraphy. His creations immerse the viewer in the physical and sensorial virtues of the organic material. Following the knots and fibres of the plant, the sculptures’ structure is shaped using tension and fishing rods. The bamboo is then dried for months, exposed to the strong Mediterranean elements. This intervention is the basis for the final pieces which are constructed with the organic material, fishing lines and metal and ceramic weights. Like Calder’s mobiles, the sculptures follow strict mathematical laws of movement and balance. His manipulation of the bamboo plants from solid canes to thin and articulating contours, creates mobile sculptures where the artwork consists of not only the bamboo itself, but also the intangible hollow space within and the shadows and silhouettes they project. A fragile harmony is achieved through opposites: flexibility and strength, fullness and void, light and shadow, movement and quietness.
Born in France, Lo trained as a visual artist and for many years worked as a creative director in advertising and fashion. Lo’s first encounter with bamboo was completely circumstantial, but as he recalls “it was love at first slight”. Bamboo became his obsession, a passion so strong that drove him to set out on a journey of discovery which he refers to as his Bamboo Routes.
In 2004 he set out for Southeast Asia, attending the World Bamboo Congress in Delhi. From there he travelled to remote areas in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, learning old techniques from the communities for whom bamboo is an essential resource. Beyond craftsmanship, Lo learned the strong spiritual and emotional charge within bamboo. In 2011, with the support of the World Bamboo Organisation, he began his second journey to Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. He studied the spatial properties of bamboo and met well-known members of an international community using contemporary techniques to build bamboo structures, including Architect Martín Coto and Engineer Mercedes Rodriguez. His final trip was to Indonesia in 2012, where he discovered the work of John Hardy in Bali. Hardy would invite Lo to give lessons in “bamboo art” at his Green School and Green Village and to develop a project during bamboo’s growing season.
Through his travels, Lo developed deep insight and knowledge into bamboo’s properties as well as traditional and contemporary techniques to grow and work with the material. Beyond its physical characteristics such as flexibility, resistance, density and lightness; it was the spiritual properties of bamboo that would captivate him and become the soul of his poetic creations.
Lo’s exquisite bamboo creations are well appreciated internationally as well as in the Asia Pacific region. Lo was recently invited by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute to participate in the Bamboo Traces Contemporary International Bamboo Art and Craft Exhibition. This exhibition is a worldwide collaboration project, gathering artists and designers from many different countries and cultures, exploring bamboo, a traditional material in Asia, from a modern context. His works have been acquired by prominent collectors including Hong Kong renowned architect and collector Mr. William Lim and Fine Jewellery Designer and board member of M+ Museum Hong Kong Ms. Kai-Yin Lo.
Laurent Martin “Lo” is member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and currently lives and works in Spain. He is represented by Puerta Roja in Asia since 2015.
Italian artist based in Brussels, where he founded the company INSIEMI IRREALI with the support of Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. His interdisciplinary work is positioned between visual and performing art, installation and new technologies, with a strong focus on social, historical and anthropologi-cal themes.
He has presented his works on four continents, during dance and performing arts festivals, theaters, music net-works, contemporary art and puppet-object platforms, including: Festival OrienteOccidente, Seoul Inter-national Dance Festival, José Limon Dance Festival, Danse Elargie / Théâtre de la Ville, Beijing Dance Fe-stival, National Italian Dance Platform. He is also an AEROWAVES 2018 artist.
Since 2015, Pietro has been developing an anthropological and aesthetic reflection on the connection between reality and symbolic language. This approach led him to the creation of a “species imagery”, a philosophical manifesto that should lead our society to confront its own history and global problems from the point of view of different living species.
Nicola Galli works on body research, stated in artistic pieces and devices that ranges from choreo-graphy to performance, from body installations to graphics.
He starts as agonist gymnast and then approaches to the body research at Teatro Nucleo (Ferrara), studying the languages of physical theatre and contemporary dance.
In 2010 he starts a personal research focused on shape and definition of the “stratification” and “landscape” concepts in connection with the body, that develops in installations and choreographic pieces.
Starting from the geometry and the astronomy he is fascinated by anatomy, proportion and details; these elements compose the core of his trasversal scenic imaginary.
From 2010 to 2014 he worked as dancer and performer in the company Collettivo Cinetico directed by Francesca Pennini. Since 2014 he is choreographer supported by TIR Danza. In 2014 is selected artist at Italian Istitute of Culture in Paris with the performance Delle ultime visioni cutanee. From 2015 to 2016 creates the pièces Jupiter and beyond, Venus, Mars, a choreographic trilogy focused on solar system.
In 2017 creates the pièce De rerum natura with Balletto di Toscana Junior (Italy) and the support of Prove d’Autore XL – project of the Italian Network Anticorpi XL. In 2018 creates the interactive performance Ge- noma scenico for the Science Museum MUSE in Trento, with the support of Centro Culturale S. Chiara and Festival Oriente Occidente, and wins the prize Equilibrio – Fondazione Musica per Roma with the pièce Deserto digitale. In 2018 wins Danza & Danza Prize as best emerging choreographer with the pièce De rerum natura. In 2019 wins the italian national prize Sfera d’Oro per la danza.
His works are selected for Italian and international festivals: Vetrina della Giovane Danza d’Autore in 2012 and 2015 (Network Anticorpi XL – IT), Nid Platform 2015 and 2019, International Festival D-Caf (El Cairo), Tanzmesse (Dusseldörf). Moreover, he presents site-specific performance in collaboraction with important italian institutions: MUSE (Trento), Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa), La Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Roma), Fondazione Perugia Musica Classica (Perugia).
About the Vertical Theater. The Vertical Theater stems from vertical dancing Vertical spaces become floors on which the performers, supported by harnesses and suspended on ropes, dance, jump, run, perform…using the walls as orthogonal working surfaces.
We see the Vertical Theatre as a language that brings together different art forms, starting from Theatre and circus, graphics, acrobatics, dance and music, to visual comedy and new technologies. All of these different disciplines get reinvented and adapted to unusual and impressive vertical locations: towers, buildings façades, bell towers, walls, cliffs, trees and great outdoors.
About Us. eVenti Verticali is a cultural sports association aiming to promote an unusual type of Theatre to be performed on vertical and aerial stages. Origins. Founded in 2006 from an idea of Andrea and Luca Piallini, the association has since then realised courses and shows all around the world promoting the Vertical Theatrein twenty different countries.
The idea of working on vertical surfaces came up in 2003, while performing a rope descent from a window during a show in Gdansk.
Cie. l’Insolite Mécanique (FR) ‘s “Je brasse de l’air”
Be transported into a mysterious world of shadow and light, where astonishingly engineered mechanical installations that defy the laws of gravity come alive, illuminating Magali Rousseau’s childhood dream of achieving flight.
An enigmatic yet charismatic artist tells her story: a little girl who wishes to escape by becoming a master of the air. As she leads us all to different parts of the atmospherically lit stage, her simple words become a symbolic force for this promenade performance in which exquisite metal creatures emerge from the dark.
Some small, some very large, each is an actor, a work of art in its own right, set into action through steam power, flame, time or weight, all playing their part in this ingenious theatrical tale. Rousseau’s machines are born out of a career working in set and prop design.
Here she collaborates with musician Stéphane Diskus, whose live clarinet playing heightens the unusual ambience, to relate a most personal memory: how trying to fly became an act of resistance. A journey into the imagination for all dreamers, young and old alike.
Self-Centered Mirror is an arrangement of 34 vertical panes of mirror. It has a retro-reflective behavior, and anyone standing in front of this mirror will see themselves reflected on all 34 panes. The mirror is designed to isolate a very narrow field of vision, and seemingly reflects the image of each viewer individually. It physically illustrates the narcissistic gaze that is usually associated with mirrored reflection. This piece is a wall-mounted sculpture that curves out from the wall on its left and right sides.
Artist and computer developer Daniel Rozin is best-known for incorporating ingenious engineering and his own algorithms to make installations that change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. Exploring the subjectivity of self-perception, Rozin’s works are made from a wide array of materials from video to wooden pegs and even street refuse. Trash Mirror No. 3 (2011) uses motors and software designed by the artist that manipulate ‘pixels’ constructed out of flattened, reflective pieces of garbage, which shift to render the silhouette of whomever approaches it.
With his own productions and his collaborations with Dimitri de Perrot, the choreographer, theatre director and clown Martin Zimmermann has performed in renowned theaters and festivals across Europe and throughout the world.
Hans was Heiriis built around a rotating house. The set looks like a dolls’ house, a square of four rooms with simple furniture. Then it starts to spin. The performers stay upright as the floor tilts under them, until gravity sends them tumbling from room to room.
Appearing as part of the London International Mime Festival, the show was created by choreographer Martin Zimmermann and composer Dimitri de Perrot, both festival regulars. In Hans was Heiri they put six acrobat-performers through a series of transformations and tangles. They switch costumes, quarrel, teach yoga classes and hide in boxes.
The performers switch personalities, arguing with each other or pursuing their own obsessions. These character scenes go on too long, milking the jokes, though the material is inventive.
Hans was Heiri is strongest when it stops trying so hard to be wacky. The most deadpan artists are the most impressive. Mélissa Von Vépy, a wonderfully serene aerialist, floats around the house. She hangs from her knees from the set, pulled into a great circle as it turns, casually picking up a fellow performer as she goes.
Dimitri de Perrot mixes the soundtrack live on stage. The show starts with audience chatter, the real conversations in the auditorium blending into the recorded sound of the same thing. Then Perrot starts chopping and looping it, turning it into rhythms that get the show moving.
The house brings out the best in everybody, as they dodge falling furniture or stay insistently seated on chairs that have turned upside down. Leaning into the slope, they hold themselves at impossible angles. A man leaning against a wall finds himself lying down, then sliding across a tilting floor to bump his head on what used to be the ceiling. Another runs clings to the outside of the house, running to stay on top as it picks up speed.
The poetic gesture – from a monologue for a single spectator to an Olympic ceremony. Theatre, dance, acrobatics, circus, opera and documentary: all come together in the work of compagnia Finzi Pasca.
Daniele Finzi Pasca (Lugano, Switzerland), co-founder of Compagnia Finzi Pasca
Author, director, choreographer, lighting designer and actor
Daniele Finzi Pasca lives in three worlds at once: stage directing, performing arts, and the art of clowning. Born into a family steeped in the arts, he starts his career as a gymnast and becomes a circus artist before delving into the world of theatre.
In 1983, he heads to India where he volunteers to care for terminally ill patients in Calcutta. On his return to Switzerland, with Maria Bonzanigo and his brother Marco he creates the company Teatro Sunil and its peculiar vision of the art of clowning, dance and acting: a theatrical technique they name the “Theatre of the Caress”. With Teatro Sunilhe creates and directs around 30 shows depicting a profound sense of humanity and playfulness, performed in about 20 countries.
In 1991 he writes Icaro, a monologue imagined for a single spectator that he performs nearly 800 times, in 6 languages, still on tour. In 2009 he co-founds Inlevitas with his wife Julie Hamelin Finzi (†), aiming to create and develop various artistic projects, where the opera L’Amour de Loin (Love from Afar) for the English National Opera London is its first production.
In 2011, together with Antonio Vergamini, Hugo Gargiulo, Julie Hamelin Finzi and Maria Bonzanigo, he co-founds Compagnia Finzi Pasca and continues creating and directing numerous shows like Donka– A Letter to Chekhov (a production with The Chekhov International Theater Festival, coproduced with Vidy-Lausanne Theater to mark the 150thanniversary of the birth of Anton Chekhov), La Verità, Bianco su Bianco and Per te (the latter dedicated to the life of his late wife Julie), lyric operas like Verdi’s Requiemand Aida (with Maestro Valery Gergiev) for Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Pagliacci (Maestro Donato Renzetti) and Carmen (Maestro Zubin Metha), both for Teatro San Carlo in Naples, big events like 3 Olympic ceremonies (for Turin and Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games, in 2006 and 2014 respectively), 2 shows for Cirque du Soleil (Corteo with 8,400,000 spectators on a 10-year tour, back in 2018 and Luzia, ongoing since 2016), Montréal Avudo, a multimedia outdoor show on the banks of Montreal’s river produced by Compagnia Finzi Pasca for the city’s 375thanniversary (2017), Abrazos, an interactive show for families at the Feria de León in Mexico (2019, 200,000 spectators, production Compagnia Finzi Pasca) and also the 2019 Fête des Vignerons (Winegrowers’ Festival), a celebration held in Vevey (Switzerland) every 25 years approximately. Amongst his most recent directions, the opening opera for the 2019-2020 season at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva: Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, co-produced by Compagnia Finzi Pasca.
Daniele published some books, appeared in seven languages: a collection of short stories, two dramaturgies of his shows, a novel, a novella and a long interview-book by Facundo Ponce de León, Daniele Finzi Pasca. Teatro de la caricia. Other projects are on the making.
Amongst many recognitions (e.g. 3 nominations in Broadway for Rain, 2006), Daniele received the Montréal English Critics Circle Award (MECCA) 2009 for Icaro, the Hans Reinhart Ring (2012), the highest distinction of Swiss theatre for his lifelong contribution to the performing arts and the Best Director of Circus Performance Award 2016 (Russia) for La Verità.