(c) Lara Gasparotto
“He felt no tiredness, just occasional regret that he couldn’t walk on his head.”
Benjamin Verdonck (b. 1972) is an all-round artist who lives and works near Antwerp.
Both actor and writer, visual artist and theatre maker, his art practice recklessly resists genres or classification. From theatre pieces on stage to performances in public space, across objects and art installations, to miniature mobile theaters on the go, Verdonck displays a catching simplicity in his visual language, but not in his thinking. Concerned with and distracted by what goes on in our world, he plays the game of a child with the wrinkles of a philosopher.
Since twenty years, he combines on-stage collaborations with a steady yet agile visual art practice. His work is characterized by constant rethinking, rewriting, reworking propositions on how art could co-create reality, rather than reflecting on it. In his work, he touches our consciousness with elements of playful fantasy, makes language a material, and lets the space and the objects speak. Far from resolving, his work has the quality of a poetic blessing that pretends no cure. Often it reveals a conscious – even activist – endeavour to tackle local or global urgencies (e.g the ecological catastrophe, consumption and economics) from within his work.
In the search for new forms of ’tafeltoneel’ (table scenes, miniature theatre), Verdonck has recently been creating a series of table-sized mobile theaters. With few words but many strings, colours, geometric figures, opening doors and closing curtains, he rewires theatre to its most essential form, close and on a human scale. His magical showboxes have the potential to emerge anywhere in cities, indoors or outside, to disappear just as quickly. With Verdonck at once machinist and protagonist – they reveal an audiovisual poetry that is both puzzling and tangible.
Long biography (NL – ENG – FR)