makeup counter composed.jpg
makeup counter composed.jpg

Counter Composed


on elementary difference

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Counter Composed


on elementary difference

performance  | live music |  45 minutes  | 

Premiere: December 2018.


In Painting and Sculpture: Elementarism (Fragment of a Manifesto), founder of De Stijl Theo van Doesburg defines counter composition as 'a phenomenon of time-space tension of colour, line or plane, always in opposition to the natural and architectural structure'. Parting ways with Mondrian, this kind of artwork displays non-balanced relations prompted by diagonal lines and chromatic dissonance.

 
 Theo van Doesburg.  Study for Counter Composition V  (1924). Pencil, watercolour paint and gouache on cardboard paper Donation of Moorsel to the State of the Netherlands, 1981. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, NL.

Theo van Doesburg. Study for Counter Composition V (1924). Pencil, watercolour paint and gouache on cardboard paper Donation of Moorsel to the State of the Netherlands, 1981. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, NL.

 

Counter Composed brings these constructive principles to bear on performance art. The stage is a three-dimensional rendition of Counter Composition V (1924) with a base of 36 square meters, which follows the artist's vision through pyramidal volumes coloured with light. Around this structure, singers interpret an original score based on four pitches, while the audience, at the centre, is surrounded by images and sounds. An actor circulates the stage and carries on the action by being colour, as Van Doesburg urges in his brief note Elementarism from 1930.

 
 C.M. Roos. Stage design for  Counter Composed  (2017). Vector graphics drawing. 

C.M. Roos. Stage design for Counter Composed (2017). Vector graphics drawing. 

 

Counter compositions relate colours by opposition and dissonance. According to Van Doesburg, the same principle holds for social relations. In Counter Composed, colors become abstractions of unspecified cultural groups. They are performed on stage as characters who do not shy away from tension but rather embrace it. The question of cultural diversity is revisited this way, with a focus on the tension between identity and difference. As a result, the show displays a mixture of simplicity and suggestiveness that summons the raw substance of social experience, paying tribute to Van Doesburg's ideas about art and society.