Thursday, March 30, 2006

Political art is poor art

Akram Khan & London Sinfonietta
Originally uploaded by
Sometimes I just love Flickr. I went to a concert yesterday and I found the concert poster from Flickr.

I thought it was time to test one of the best concert halls of the world, Het Concertgebouw, and this event sounded interesting. Concertgebouw is not usually a venue for dance.

Yesterday evening the hall was full with even the mayor of Amsterdam present. The evening started with a LENGTHY xylophone piece. Drifted off, must say. The second piece was Steve Reich´s Different Trains that combines violins, cellos and quotes from people who have experienced the war. The music imitated the rhythm of the speech. The evening ended with Akram Khan´s dance performance.

Hmm...the evening was an example of what happens when artists start their work with the advocacy message and not with the artistic passion. Reich´s Different Trains was highly pretentious and music-wise not very clever. Akram Khan´s group consisted of three male dancers. I raised my eyebrows when the Asian dancer was performing Asian-influenced dance and the black dancer had a clear African dance influence in his movement. In the end they ended up doing the same movement.

The dancers were technically skillful but the words multicultural and tolerance could have been printed on their shirts, that is how obvious the message was.

This sort of art just does not work for me. I would make an analogy with Michael Moore -like documentarists where the artistic quality gets stomped by the political manifestation.

But at times it is nice to see something you do not like in order to clarify your own taste.

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