27 November 2014
KAGE WHERE K FOR KOTT. PERFORMANCE BY ARTIST FILIPPOS TSITSOPOULOS
A multidisciplinary artist, he studied painting at the Aristoteleion University of Thessalonica and later earned a doctoral degree at Madrid’s Complutense University. His works include installations, video-theatre and media art. He has worked in the field of interactive theatre installation art, exploring the limits of performance art, as well as in painting since 1990. His method is to get the spectator/participant involved in a new kind of theatre or rather a system that seeks to include theatre as a catalyst of our daily lives. In his work he applies concepts belonging to the theatre—both traditional and modern—to the visual arts, observing the effects they might have on the image, depending on their plastic behaviour. Using the masks he has made with materials as diverse as organic substances, animals and plants, he constructs parallel equivalents that contain and juxtapose elements that are temporarily out of proportion.
Since 2005 Tsitsopoulos has also been an external collaborator at the Education Department of the Prado Museum, where he teaches Drawing and Art Aesthetics, focussing on the subject of irony, which he researched extensively for his doctoral studies in Madrid.
Performance Kage where K for Kott
This work is part of a project that includes a series of live performances filmed in public spaces, in addition to monologues and reflections based on two books by Jan Kott on the theory of theatre. Filippos Tsitsopoulos, whose father was an actor, has been in direct contact with the world of theatre since he was a child. He uses fragments of Kott’s works as theatrical texts to reconstruct the author’s imaginary life in London. Through the action of Filippos Tsitsopoulos, Jan Kott revisits places tucked away in an inner theatre of a life filled with performances, showing art in physical time that elapses in the space of one day.
The theatre is a way to understand the world. Although I studied visual arts and painting, theatre came into my life—it was inevitable—and my love of masks, the multi-layered onion in an interpretation, jolted me out of painting to the bus stop closest to the theatre, i.e. performance art. Jan Kott and his essays helped me understand what it means to find what is not evident in evidence and evidence in what is not evident.
The project starts out mentally at my home in my native country and is transported to a theatrical land which is London where I now reside. Some of the scenarios I use include galleries, theatres, pubs and British institutions—pillars of today’s world of art—, where I create monologues and reflections on theatre and life, pretending to be Mr. Kott. Performing means superimposing your face on a different piece of news and with it, to embody somebody else’s soul. I use masks as one of the favourite elements of Jan Kott’s Verfremdunseffekt* and I reconstruct his face and imaginary soul.
Kafka and his short story ‘A Cage Went in Search of a Bird,’ explained in detail by Kott in his essays on theatrical reflection, have been transformed into the performative project Kage where K for Kott which the artist has already taken to more than sixty locations, theatres and institutions in London.
* Verfremdungseffekt: a German term introduced by Bertolt Brecht alluding to the alienation effect.
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