A lively place open to all, the Villa Empain is also a laboratory of artistic practices. Artists in residence or invited artists invest the spaces of the building and deliver performances that echo the temporary exhibitions or the history of this singular place.
performance by Julien Breton
22 October 2020
To mark the opening of the exhibition The Light House, calligrapher Julien Breton presented a series of calligraphies around the theme of light and art. Combining French texts with Arabic-style typography and Arabic words, the artist ‘painted’ with light. The performance was composed of evanescent traces, ephemeral shadows and lights en movement, in the middle of the exhibition Aleppo, a 5,000 year journey.
Video engineer William Guignard has developed the technology that made it possible to produce luminous calligraphy in real time in front of a transparent screen.
Mosaic, Dance and Oriental Music
Dance performance by Nawal Raad
22 November 2019
To mark the 76th anniversary of Lebanese independence, dancer Nawal Raad delivered an unique exploration of the meeting of East and West.
From traditional Lebanese dabké dance, to Egyptian dance and dervish whirling, her performances feed on multiple influences and are invitations to travel. Her experience with string puppet theatre, contemporary dance, and Japanese Butoh mark her creations, which oscillate between tradition and modernity.
Nawal Raad enjoys an international reputation and appears at music and dance festivals around the world, frequently together with musician-composer Abaji and the Joubran Trio.
Comme de l’eau
Performance by Taysir Batniji
3 novembeR 2019
As part of its Ekphrasis exhibition, the Boghossian Foundation presented the performance Comme de l’Eau (Like Water, 2008) by artist Taysir Batniji, a subtle, sober and delicate work that questions our political, environmental and philosophical attitudes.
“Following writer Mahmoud Darwhich who has established the existence of 109 words for “water” in Arabic, the artist has set himself the defiant and painstaking task of tracing these in “basic’ letterstrokes, using only water – salt or chalky as his medium. The gestural instantaneousness, with its ephemeral nature, so specific to performance, refers us back to the precariousness of existence and the persistence of individual memories. Beyond a sense of vulnerability, we read in it the capacity of the Palestinian people to invent their daily lives” -Michèle Cohen Hadria
Il Corpo Dentro
Dance show by Sonia Biacchi, Hiroko Komiya and Atsushi Takenouchi
7 October 2019
La Fondation Boghossian recevait le Festival ARTONOV pour sa soirée d’ouverture, hommage au Bauhaus, à l’occasion du centième anniversaire du mouvement né à Weimar.
The Boghossian Foundation welcomed the ARTONOV Festival for its opening night, a tribute to the Bauhaus, marking the 100th anniversary of birth of the Weimar-born movement.
Conceived by costume designer Sonia Biacchi, choreographer Atsushi Takenouchi and musician Hiroko Komiya, Il Corpo Dentro mixed butoh dance, Bauhaus design and music. With their differing aesthetic approaches but similar philosophies, they delivered a totally new type of show to the Villa Empain. The original Bauhaus-style costumes, loaned by the Centro Teatrale di Ricerca (Venice), inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s triadic ballet and worn by dancer Atsushi Takenouchi, created a special sense of space within which they constructed a veritable architecture of the body.
ZLS III feat. Mike Kelley/Franz West
performance by Inge Nabuurs et Erwin van Doorns
7 october 2018
In 1999 Villa Empain was the site of a historic show Franz West / Mike Kelley, which included The Morgue, a series of forty collages of Kelley now part of the collection of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Artists Inge Nabuurs and Erwin van Doorn took these collages as the starting point for a new work in their series Zwischenlandschaften, retracing the dense history of this influential exhibition as an infinite palimpsest of the modern world. For one day, Nabuurs and Van Doorn brought West’s and Kelley’s conflicting worlds, spanning from Vienna to Detroit, back to memory and life in an immersive video installation and performance.
Performance by Anastasia Bay et Julien Saudubray
30 septembER 2018
For this project, the Brussels collective Clovis XV undertook a collaboration with the choreographer Juliette Otter and the sound artist Matthieu Levet.
Leak-Out overflows, but with restraint. The bodies evoked solitude and idleness. The characters move in a moist atmosphere, integrating sculptures by the two visual artists whilst the public was caught in the middle of the screen through which they viewed the scene and the sound: original soundtrack of the performance.
performance by Phoebe Berglund, avec Chloe Chignell, Stormy Budwig, Hanako Hayakawa, Lydia Mcglinchey, Mooni Van Tichel, Timothy Nouzak, Jean-Baptiste Portier, Rosie Sommers
9 june 2018
Can a dance be collapsed into an image? This question was the point of departure for Static, a performance conceived by Phoebe Berglund, in residence at the Boghossian Foundation. This series of tableau vivants that traveled through the Villa Empain in an ongoing three hours performance in the exhibition Melancholia. Stillness as a form was used to explore relationships between object and subject. Each composition repeated and loops making little or no change at all, thus the dance was constructed of subtle transitions that created variations on an image.
The Idle Oyster in Swamp
Performance by Adam Vackar and Romana Drdova
18 February 2018
Visual artist Adam Vackar took advantage of his residency at the Boghossian Foundation to develop a performance in collaboration with artist Romana Drdova. Vackar and Drdova have been exploring the notion of the difficulty of communication and exchange between individuals in this century where human body is related to the design of emerging materials, processes and technologies of mass production. He was developping as well a series of installations in the Villa Empain’s garden during his stay.
performance de Rafay Rashid
17 décember 2017
Artist and musician, Rafay Rashid, in residence at the Boghossian Foundation presents a live multimedia performance with new work. It incorporated music, dance, and video art to create an ephemeral and interactive experience for the Villa Empain. The piece ran for forty-five minutes with musical compositions that blended eastern improvisational techniques with western traditional pop song structures. The performance explored cultural identity in the digital age, drawing on the artist’s background as a Pakistani and an American.
performance by Else Tunemyr, avec Catalina Insignares, Henrike Kohpheiß, Carolina Mendonça eandZuzana Žabková
10 december 2017
In weary three dancers have forgone the vertical in favour of the horizontal. Here, the female body became not a sign nor a symbol, instead materialised as nothing but itself. In Ways of seeing exhibition, the unstructured movement, gradually unfolded in a carefully composed choreography and questioned: Is there another way of being in the world? The work does not include a conclusion, or a climax but a bending, blurring of time.
performance by Thomas Proksch
19 november 2017
LEGO was presented in the frame of the residency of Thomas Proksch at the Boghossian Foundation. Including a phonic meditation in form of a live DJ, set LEGO was a compilation of virtual space, capturing shadows, rendering consciousness and other uncertain ceremonies.
In a zone of nothingness and everything, where sensibility is evoked and endlessly recognized, where there are no names, rules, boundaries or definitions, Yves Klein.
The future is wireless.
Decolonise Meteoric Mix
performance by Chooc Ly Tan, avec Christopher Kirubi, Audrey Lauro, Bgirl Stormy et B-boy
5 november 2017
Decolonise Meteoric Mix was a site-specific performance devised by artist and DJ Chooc Ly Tan, and energized by Christopher Kirubi, Audrey Lauro, Bgirl Stormy and B-boy. The piece explored the shifting meaning of chemistry applicable in mixology, dance, music and collective transformation.
Performance by Nikima Jagudajev, with Alexandra Tveit, Marie Ursin, Adriano Vicente, and Casper-Malte Augusta
19 August 2017
New York choreographer Nikima Jagudajev presented her new performance The Olympics as part of her residency at the Boghossian Foundation.
The Olympics is a choreography that could be described as a sociality, a sort of gathering of companions. Somewhat like a traveling fair or a pool party with the extended fam. After dark the orchard was their terrain. I was a sort of trespasser with my rustling feet and darting eyes. But in the moonlight, there in the gulch we infiltrated together and invited a mutual attentiveness. With grace and nonchalance, the dancers’ choreographies stretched out on a summer afternoon by the pool.
choreography by Christopher Matthews
9 july 2017
Performer, choreographer, and visual artist Christopher Matthews presented his new work Lads at the Villa Empain in the frame of his residency at the Boghossian Foundation.
Lads was a sensuous installation experimenting with the connections and influences of neo-classical sculpture in early modern dance, specifically around notions of masculinity and the ideal physical form. The installation included a movement responsive sound program designed by Montreal-based performance coder and system developer Naoto Hieda.
Shouts & Berbers
By Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne
25 june 2017
Visual artist Karthik Pandian and choreographer Andros Zins-Browne were in residence in June at the Boghossian Foundation. They worked towards their upcoming writing and film projects and presented a performance resulting from their collaboration. The performance, which explores the notion of freedom of movement through politics, film and dance, was also presented at the Kaaistudio in Brussels.
Natten, The Series
Performances by Mårten Spångberg
26 and 27 May 2017
As a part of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Boghossian Foundation received the Swedish choreographer Mårten Spångberg who presented a new version of Natten, The Series. The special version was conceived for a smaller group of female-only dancers accompanied by readings of horror short stories. It is an entry into the specific currencies of the female night. A night during which the weave is undone and boundaries dissolved, where the opacity of darkness also becomes a hiding place for fleeting forms of friendship, whispers and intimacy.
Performance by Monira Al Qadiri
From 9 to 13 May 2017
As part of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Monira Al Qadiri presented Feeling Dubbing, a ludic and playful play about the confusion that the flow of images of popular cultures sows in our lives witch explored the dubbing, is the a process of providing a soundtrack to films or series in a foreign language. The artist created a sculpture of sounds. In it the human voice gets its own body: it is spoken, recorded and replayed, multiplied and propagated. It becomes a “thing”, an element that shapes what we are and what we do in the world.
The Valeska Gert Museum
A Performance by Eszter Salamon, with Boglàrka Börcsök
22 april 2017
Eszter Salamon offered to the avant-garde artist Valeska Gert an imaginary museum at the Villa Empain. She inhabited it with Boglàrka Börcsök to propose an experience oscillating between memory, reconstruction and fiction.
The Valeska Gert Museum was an imaginary museum that operates through a collection of performative acts related to the life and work of the German artist Valeska Gert. This embodied museum was an empirical- archival venture that oscillates between re-enactment, commentary and fiction. Powered by the desire to intensify relations between the past and our current times, it invited us to encounter a historicity different from canonical art history.
A week of steps at the Villa Empain
Performance by DD Dorvillier
1st april 2017
Body sculptures play a central role in this edition of the Brussels Biennale of performance art Performatik17. It’s in this framework that the Boghossian Foundation welcomed choreographer in residence at the Villa Empain to work on her new project A week of steps at the Villa Empain.
DD Dorvillier presented a collection of danced fragments drawn from videos of her works while a youngster in the New York 90s. With her performers, she danced the fragments over and over again, removed from their original context: no text, no music, no lights. The colourful exhibition Decor at Villa Empain formed a new backdrop. This way of looking back and into dance aims to be as subjective, aesthetic, and playful as possible. The Boghossian Foundation also offered practical sessions open to all in the company of DD Dorvillier.
Performance by Sandhya Daemgen
19 february 2017
In The Aquarium one wants to see and be seen, know and be known. It is against this backdrop of the constant search for knowledge, visibility and identity that Sandhya Daemgen offered something in between. Through rumination and movement, language and sound, the artist and choreographer offered a time and space to engage and expand the notion of real in our daily lives. The performance took place within the Decor exhibition.
Performance by Janine Harrington
29 January 2017
screensaver is a sculptural dance inspired by one of the first computer screen in screen-saver mode.
The project explored the state in which the movement of colour and patterns are foregrounded in between other types of demand and activity. Exploiting non-theatrical spaces, the British artist and writer Janine Harrington, in residence at the Boghossian Foundation, presented her choreography in the Villa Empain, creating a link between the public and the dancers.
Movies om my own
performance – film by Ariane Loze
17 December 2016
In 2008, Ariane Loze created a series of videos to reflect on the conventions of the cinematographic language. Every one of them questions the limits of this medium by only working with minimal means. In the videos, she is the actress playing all the characters, she is the director staging their situations and imagined dialogues, and she is the camera woman framing their actions. In some cases, her videos provoke a sort of shift from reality by creating a distance between the spectator and the sign systems and clichés that we use in everyday communication.
The spatial configuration of the Villa Empain was a significant element in the scenarios that she will be developing and performing during my residency.
Directory of Portrayals
Performance by Sahra Motalebi, with Seung-Min Lee
5 november 2016
In a second performance at the Boghossian Foundation Sahra Motalebi presented research from her ongoing project, an interdisciplinary opera, called Rendering What Remains. Revolving around a text-based exchange between the artist and her estranged sister who lives in Iran, this piece registers the complex global dynamics of intimacy, identity, and cultural difference that underpin this dialogue. To this end, Motalebi uses the floor plan of the Villa to structure a series of dramatic monologues and a cappella arias as a performance installation, Directory of Portrayals. The viewers determine their participation in the narrative by their proximity to the actors: Motalebi, who plays herself and her sister, and to artist Seung-Min Lee, who performs as the chorus.
Dear Diogenes, here’s something else entirely.
Performance by Frank Wasser
1st october 2016
Artist Frank Wasser, in residence at the Boghossian Foundation, was simultaneously working on his ongoing research, developing a screenplay for a feature film and elaborating new works. The artist and poet from Dublin inhabited the current exhibition Decor interrupting visitors with observations, questions and riddles as they move through the building.
Be my Muse
Performance by Moriah Evans
17 September 2016
In Be my Muse, Moriah Evans, in residence at the Boghossian Foundation, occuped rooms at the Villa with a cycle of 49-minute performances commencing at the start of each hour. Evans exposed her process to a series of interventions and opinions from the public to produce an open choreographic system modulated through time and intimate yet momentary exchanges. The construction of a solo performance was examined whilst expressions of power, control, dominance, submission and the authority of the author are in a perpetual state of redefinition.
Fonctions et Fictions
Performance by Alvaro Urbano
17 septembeR 2016
The public of the Villa Empain discovered the work developed by Alvaro Urbano during his residency at the Boghossian Foundation.
Urbano’s Functions and Fictions will animated the Villa Empain–shifting perspectives on the built environment through replicating architectural elements of the Villa. He will destabilized the functionality and space-time relations of the architectural program to create a fictional landscape and portal to the imaginative.
Satelliser : a dance for the gallery
Performance by Janine Harrington
11 juin 2016
Choreographer, performer and writer Janine Harrington, in residency at the Boghossian Foundation early 2016, came back to the Villa Empain to present her recent performance Satelliser: a dance for the gallery. During four hours, six dancers subtly interacted with the visitors’ movements, playing with the relationship between performance, visitor, and space.
Performance by Andros Zins-Browne
18 May 2016
Loosely taking part in Répétition, choreographer Andros Zins-Browne performed Already Unmade, a work conceived especially for the Villa Empain in which he revisited his personal history of choreography, altering it through the mechanism of repetition.