Persona, still from SKINNED, 2021
Persona is a multidisciplinary art platform that collects and connects the individual and collaborative work of artists Pieter Desmet, Steffi Mennen and Jonathan De Maeyer as well as providing an environment in which they can explore their main research "the body as the manifestation of identity".
This collaboration works inspiring because of its interdisciplinary nature which offers new insights that wouldn’t be found as individuals. Persona works on the crossroad between performance art and audiovisual art placing itself somewhere between the theater and the museum setting.
Common interests and closely connected research questions are handled inherently different by each artist because of their own views regarding those subjects. By combining those perspectives, with their individual medium bound experiences, Persona creates an extensive and unique vision that gets established in the specific imagery of both the separate creations as the general body of work which navigates in between the realistic, the cinematic and the deformed image. A vision that is brought to life by the artists perspective as young city dwellers and digital natives, and keeps on evolving every time a new work resides in it. Persona exposes the contemporary individual and their alienation from corporeal reality.
Persona strives to place as much emphasis on the ongoing research as on the exposed product. Can we open up the intimate process of a constantly evolving research? Can we dive deeper than the - final - product on display? Concrete research, with explored sources of inspiration, goes hand in hand with an organic and intuitive way of working. It works from dialogue and an open mind, always allowing for a new direction if the process demands it.
Persona, as a multidisciplinary platform is not, nor wishes to be, stuck to one certain art form or medium. The outcome of any given project depends on what the research demands of it. Persona aims to develop research in a non-pre-established way, starting from dialogue and an open mind from where new directions can be taken with fluidity toward the shape a project takes. The product is part of the process, but is not the starting point of the concept and research-driven work.
Pieter started his dance training when he was 12 years old at the Kunsthumaniora in Brussels after which he went on to study at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp / AP Hogeschool from which he graduated in 2018.
Currently, Pieter is working for Ultima Vez / Wim Vandekeybus, touring through Europe. Meanwhile he works as a freelance dancer for Aïda Gabriëls / OESTER and is part of a research group led by costume designer Chris Snik.
Currently he is directing the dance science fiction film Togetherness, produced by The Backyard collective, which will premiere in 2022.
He has been invited as guest teacher in multiple dance schools and companies; for a.o. the Kunsthumaniora Brussel, de! Kunsthumaniora in Antwerp, the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp & the Royal Ballet of Flanders.
°1996, the Netherlands
Steffi received a bachelors degree in dance in 2017 and a degree as a certified dance teacher, both from the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp / AP Hogeschool.
Next to her work for Persona she is working as a freelance dancer. She has worked or is working with a.o. Renan Martins de Oliveira, Marcelo Moncada, Company Oliveira & Bachtler, Cosmin Manolescu, Tuur Marinus and Ayham Qomoq.
She is a permanent dance teacher at the MUDA School of Arts in Ghent and the Kunstbrug Academy. As a guest she's been invited to guide classes for Retina Dance Company, LAP vzw and Oiterpe. She has been asked to create dance performances for the MUDA School of Arts and WISPER.
At this moment Steffi researching how to find relation between movement and therapy. When does movement become therapy? Is the therapeutic effect of movement a construction, a tendency or inevitable? Steffi asks these questions when movement is being executed as well as being viewed.
JONATHAN DE MAEYER
Jonathan is a visual artist who tries to understand his surroundings through his photographic work, films and texts. He works on a digital and analogue image archive that forms the basis for associatively composed series.
Jonathan studied at the KASK School of Arts in Ghent and the LUCA School of Arts in Ghent where he graduated in 2019. Currently he works occasionally as a guest lecturer for the LUCA School of Arts.
In 2020, he participated in the group exhibition Currents#7 at Z33 in Hasselt, curated by Melanie Deboutte and Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte. Through the Lazy River Workspace Residency, he found his way to a studio in the buildings of NUCLEO.
Between 2020-2022, he collaborated with the Seasonal Neighbours collective on an exhibition for Z33 in Hasselt about foreign seasonal labor in agriculture.