Equally unique bodies is a research focused on the body in all its shapes and stages and an embracement of all bodies as unique, as non-normative.
What is your dance?
How can we connect with ourselves and with others while dancing?
During their study at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, both Steffi and Pieter got the chance to attend several symposia and masterclasses on inclusivity and transectionality within the dance and art community, among which the two yearly symposium embodying diversity. Those have shaped their view on the body and the being.
Dance by definition is the movement of the body for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.
Everybody can dance, create art.
Every body can dance, create art.
Pieter has been involved in various inclusive artistic dance processes and practices. He has guided workshops at the Labo Research Group at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp where a diverse group consisting of dance students of the Dance Bachelor and external participants with or without a physical or mental disability have classes together, do research, exchange, make performances and learn from each other.
He also collaborated with visual artist Leo Trienpont, performer Wietse Vendrig and poet Norbert de Beule for the performance Zwaluw performed at the Special Arts Festival in Sint-Niklaas in 2018.
The research equally unique bodies doesn't only focus on visible unique bodies, but also looks inward to see how each body, as a vessel of memories, experiences and traumas, acts and moves.
What are the difference from body to body?
But more importantly: what are the similarities from body to body?
Joan Mitchell - abstract expressionist:
"... I paint because I don't exist anymore. It's wonderful, I am certainly not aware of myself. Painting is a way of forgetting oneself." ... "Like riding a bike without hands. I am in it? It as a state of non-self-consciousness. It does not happen often. I am always hoping it might happen again. It's lovely."
Joan Mitchell, Row Row, 1982
Oil on canvas, Diptych: 110 × 157 ½ inches overall (279.4 × 400 cm)
© Estate of Joan Mitchell. Courtesy of the Joan Mitchell Foundation
Also Mark Rothko looks at his painting as psychological and emotional experiences. He says: "painting is not about an experience. It is an experience." To evoke this experience within himself and for the viewer he tried to approach art like a child. He believed children follow their instinct without the judgment or use of guidelines that adults do.
Rothko didn't title his works because he wanted the audience to have a pure experience in which they can interpret freely. If we make art instinctively it will achieve a deep response from the artist and viewer.
Mark Rothko, No. 61 (Rust and Blue) [Brown Blue, Brown on Blue], 1953
Oil on canvas, 292.74 x 233.68 x 4.45 cm
© ©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles The Panza Collection
Neither of these artists talk about art as therapy, but their point of view describes art as a sort of healing process. Persona therefore raises the question:
When does movement become healing?
Is that healing a construction, a tendency or inevitable?
Quote by Joachim Koester encountered at the Guislain Museum in Ghent, Belgium
Extract of Steffi Mennen's notebook