Pé Vermeersch

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Pé Vermeersch
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Born1969
NationalityBelgian
CitizenshipBelgium
EducationMaster in philosophy
Occupation
  • Actress
  • Dancer
  • Performing and visual artist

Pé Vermeersch (1969) is a Belgian actress, dancer, performing and visual artist. She holds a master in philosophy and is a connoisseur of the butoh dance movement and a researcher into the cognitive and experiential abilities of dance and performing art. As an artist she has, in particular developed two formats, danced concerts and danced expos.

Biography

At a very young age and still at high school, she acted in different professional theatre companies and worked for the Belgian television and radio (then: BRT) as a presenter and documentary maker. Passionate by performing art, oscillating between dance and acting, she chooses to study philosophy in order to focus on the anthropological questions ‘why and how’ people perform in different times and cultures. At the same time, she followed, during all those years, intensive classes in classical and contemporary dance.

After graduating at Free University of Brussels (VUB) and submitting a master thesis on the ontological differences in performing art (a comparative study between Western and Eastern, traditional and contemporary styles), she received different grants (Europalia Nippon Kinen, Bunka-cho, Honda Foundation, Flemish Government) to study traditional performing arts in India (Kathakali, Bharatanatyam) and Nô in Japan (with Shinji Takabaysashi).

On the way of making her own first creations (from 1993 on) she encountered dancers from the butoh dance scene and equally discovered body weather work with the different members of Maijuki, the group founded around and with Min Tanaka. This body weather training would remain a basic throughout her dance career. She studied and danced with Tadashi Endo and Masaki Iwana, who performed Iokanaan in her piece, made in residency in De Beweeging, Antwerp (Salomé saw Iokanaan). She was especially intrigued, though, by the dance and work of Akira Kasai (dancer)|Akira Kasai, with whom she could study intensively in his studio Tenshi-Kan in Japan, and got into contact with the bewildering combination of anthroposophy, eurythmics, butoh and philosophy, the beginning of a life time research into the change of perception of time and space as a dance experience. Besides Akira Kasai, she also encountered Min Tanaka and moved back and forward between the studio in Tokyo and the body weather farm in Hakushu. With both masters she worked for the stage, the duo Pollen in San Francisco Butoh Dance Festival with Akira Kasai, and Venus and Adonis with the Min Tanaka company in NHK Hall, Tokyo (a live opera conducted by Jun Märkl).

While going back and forth between Japan and Belgium, she kept on teaching and creating her own theatre work and performed in dance companies (Victoria, Alain Platel, Blauw 4, Leporello).

Pé strongly opposed, like her masters, to a vision of butoh, still common today in Flanders and elsewhere as a purely stylistic Japanese movement.

The last time (until now) she received a subsidy to create work in Flanders was for Blondes have no soul, a creation she could realize while being an artist in the Kyoto Art Centre and which would radically change her conception of dance and performing art. It would literally draw her to the zone of visual arts, as drawing and installation art, which both became a new tool to express the inner and experiential sensibility she was looking for.

Since 2000 she has been working without support from the official (governmental) Flemish Dance Commissions, but kept on creating outstanding and radical performances and installations. Thanks to the international tour of Blondes have no soul[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] and her teachings, she could gather an international group of young talented dancers and non-dancers in her studio in the harbor of Ghent, where they researched and performed over three years. (Angela Babuin, Mireilla Martinez, …).

In 2004 she met Paul Vandenbroeck with whom she shares the same passion and research for energetic, intuitive forms of art, in different times and cultures. After a series of smaller expositions in which the body (the performer) became an experiential and sensible mediator of visual art (at Roger Raveel Museum, 2013, and the series Who wove my breath?, realized in different versions between 2011 and 2014), they finally could realize the exhibition-performance-rite Encounters[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] at MAS Museum Antwerp, in collaboration with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, a three-month-happening with daily three-hours-non-stop-performances/dances, 2017.

Pé Vermeersch and Paul Vandenbroeck married in 2005 and have created a dance studio and art center, Salon Radical, in Kortrijk (Courtrai), from which they operate and continue their research locally and internationally, with their company Radical HeArts created in 2006.

Artists strongly connected to the research of Pé Vermeersch are the designer Anita Evenepoel, sound composer Peter Clasen, visual artist Linda Vinck and of course the work of the female weavers of the Maghreb tradition. Musicians with whom she developed the format of danced concerts are Jan Vermeire, Jan Michiels, Arne De Force and Bart Maris.

Creations

Main creations

  • 2001: Blondes have no soul (stage, museum)

Solo work for evident nakedness, silence and whiteness, one to two hours non stop improvisation. Realized with the support of the flemish government while being artist in residence in Kyoto Art Center Japan. International and on going tour from 2001 on in France[15], Belgium, Spain and Japan.

  • 2004: It organs / The body (danced concert)

Research into the organ repertoire with master organ players in churches. In collaboration with organ player Jan Vermeire, Els Bieseemans, Theo Ritsema, and others. International tour in Russia, Belgium, The Netherlands, France.

  • 2011: Making the skies move (danced concert)

Choreographic duo for piano music of Olivier Messiaen performed by Jan Michiels. international tour in Belgium and France.

  • 2017: Encounters / Rencontres (museum, danced expo)

Three months performance commissioned by The Belgium national Museum MAST and KMSKA[16]. Executed with Radical HeArts company.

Berber tapestry, visual art & the body

  • 2011: Who wove my breath
  • 2018: Body of lace
  • 2019: Desertscapes
  • 2020: Ademrood / Red oxygen

Site specific

  • 2004: Watch out! Dancers!
  • 2014: Dance of a free spirit
  • 2015: Garden of thorns / Doorntuin

Other creations

  • 2006: The Nijinsky Songs
  • 2008: Pregnancy level 8
  • 2014: Time to with.draw?

Publications

  • Invitation to the experiential journey, essay in A Glimpse of the concealed[17], ed. Paul Vandenbroeck, BAI Publishers, p. 427-446.
  • Are there still savages amongst us?, in Kunst als voertuig voor mentale reizen[18], ed. Claire van Damme e.a., Ghent, University/LKG, 2011.
  • Through the matter we should go, in Orgelkunst
  • Je ne peux danser la vérité, Interview avec Pé Vermeersch, in ISEL. L’art de vivre, juillet/août 2007, p. 79-87.
  • About Butoh. In research for its origin and actual meaning. Interview with Min Tanaka, in Contact quarterly. Biannual journal of dance and improvisation (New York, winter/spring 2002, n° 1, p. 22-33[19]; in the French magazine ‘Tausendaugen’, and ‘De Morgen’.
  • Death of a little butoh mermaid, in Etcetera (Brussels), n° 76, april 2001, p. 11-18.

References

  1. Nancey, Jean-Gabriel. "Effet d'art: nudité, enfin!". Danse. European dance news (Paris), n° 270, 2012, p. 55.
  2. Tanarro, Angélica. "Tensión desnuda en un mundo asolado". El Norte de Castilla.
  3. Hernandez Mateo, Pilar. "Danza contemporánea en el teatro y en las calles de Cádiz". Diario de Cádiz.
  4. Gomez, Rosalía. "La solidez de la danza urbana". Diario de Sevilla.
  5. Ortega Cerpa, Désirée. "Las rubias no tienen alma". Diario de Cádiz.
  6. Henriquez, José. "Pies desnudos, ojos abiertos". Primer Acto.
  7. Gil, Carlos. "Ciudad, paisaje y movimiento". Artez.
  8. "Beyond a cabinet of curiosity, HALI n° 192" (PDF).
  9. "Niet zonder risico, 100% Expo, 06-2017".
  10. "Le trio art-danse-émotion au MAS à Anvers". La Libre Belgique.
  11. "Beyond a cabinet of curiosity". Hali.
  12. "Kunst kijken met het lichaam". The Standaard.
  13. "Dansers zorgen voor totaalervaring in MAS, Het Laatste Nieuws (Antwerpen), 19-05-2017".
  14. "Kijken met je lichaam". Gazet van Antwerpen.
  15. "Intensité corporelle, entretien avec Pé Vermeersch".
  16. "Intimiteit zonder woorden". ZAAL Z.
  17. "Table of contents" (PDF).
  18. "ZIJN ER NOG WILDEN IN DE ZAAL".
  19. "CQ".

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