Julian Hetzel (Utrecht) / Artists in Residence
Welcome to Mount Average. In his new performance installation, theater maker Julian Hetzel takes us on a factory visit that confronts the spectator with their own ideologies. In this industrial environment, the clash between the static past and a fluid present creates a productive friction that stirs up dust.
Monuments operate in the threshold between art and politics. For centuries, art has been used to enhance the glory of the nation, its great leaders and its political ideology. The statues of leaders such as Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Stalin or Leopold II are part of the collective memory. Their sculptures are tangible representations of political regimes, specific historical periods and ideologies. Silent, but dominantly present in the streets, they function as reminders of the power that installed them. Monuments are made to last, cast in materials that survive an era effortlessly. In some cases their materials carry the trauma that the statue represents. For example the copper used for the monuments of Leopold II, coming straight from the Congolese mines. Julian Hetzel diggs in this hole and tackles the immutability of the statues and the complexity of their material resources.
Through the collaboration with Kristien De Proost (with whom he previously collaborated in All Inclusive) and Brussels-Congolese theater maker & rapper Pitcho Womba Conga, Julian Hetzel questions in Mount Average acquired rights, traditions, privileges and wealth, ideologies and totalitarian ideas – aspects that every (postcolonial) society carries within. Julian Hetzel uses the busts of historical figures, leaders, tyrants, dictators, as the raw material to deconstruct and reconstruct a static past to make it accessible and fluid. The statues are pulverized and ground to dust, in a next step the material is mixed with fluids that literally create a flexible paste. This paste is the material that is processed and manufactured by the performers and the audience. The past is not erased, but deconstructed and reshaped into a flexible new form. Like this, Hetzel proposes a future for the past.
Julian Hetzels performances are his attempts at unraveling the world, while trying to provide strategies that can transform it. In his works he proposes speculative methods that offer possibilities to deal with the trauma (of the past) as well as with the challenges of the present. This time, hands on.
In English language.