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Review: LEONARDO by Asterions Hus at Teaterøen


Four stars

Michael Svennevig, Ørkendrømme

We step in to a magical world in the newest performance "Leonardo" by Asterions Hus, which is based upon the scientific discoveries by Leonardo da Vinci.

Extracts from his text are being read as a voice over to the performance sound track, whilst there is not one word utters live on the stage. On stage we move through dance, images and music further into the endless curiosity of the renaissance artist. It is his discoveries of the human dimensions, that are being visualised. Peter Kirk and Tilde Knudsen are the visual center. He is dressed in an impeccable white suit from the 1800's. She is solely her body, occasionally covered by a cheesecloth. It is Tilde's muscles and sinews that are the performance. The seductive music by Klaus Risager opens the senses with surgical precision, which has me floating on a hot wave of images, sliding across the stage leaving me with exposed senses and excited curiosity.

There are two round plateaus in the front and the back of the stage room. Thin layers of transparent veils divide the room. Around the sides and on the back walks Leonardos sketches and paintings are projected. This happens in all directions through the room. Tilde dances with the strays of light on the veils before it hits the walls. It is the light's way through the room that we follow, but how the colours affect each other too. The anatomic dimensions of the body. The bird's wings and the human's arms. It is the endless discoveries within man and nature by the multi talent that we are invited to observe. It happens in a beautiful interplay between movement, music and images. 

Through the imaginative and virtuous visual style of the performance we are able to inscribe ourselves some of the enthusiasm that must have possessed the main character and driven him from discovery to discovery, from detail to detail, from sketch to sketch. From sketch to picture. For a moment the civilisation feels peeled off. As a thin layer of skin the body feels exposed and as audience we become one with the reconnaissance of the world around us, and the world within our own bodies. The bodies, where everything is created as thoroughly thought through and virtuous as in the surrounding nature.

We are invited to step into a wonderful world, where every inch of the body is examined and drawn. We enter the structure of the body, that in an almost pedantic way is ransacked and examined methodical and thoroughly. We enter discoveries from a time, where they went from believing the earth was flat to believing it was round. A time that experienced a change of paradigme. Everything was examined and evaluated. The discovery of human and space. And human in space. Everything was measured and weighed – like it is in Asterions Hus. 

The playful and examining performance makes us children again. We discover that we know nothing and therefore have to sit wide eyed and gaping letting the two main characters teach us, as they have been by Leonardo. He, the examning, becomes her, the examined and the examined herself becomes the examining. Only once the two merge and have contact: when the examining and the examined in a close and nude moment become the art piece, when he starts to paint her body.

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