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Jean Abreu & Guy Cools : artist talk and book launch

Jean Abreu & Guy Cools, by Noel Shelley & Koen Broo

Brazilian-British choreographer Jean Abreu and the Belgian, Vienna-based dance dramaturg Guy Cools have been collaborating since 2016. Their recent collaborations Solo for Two ​and As They Are, Mantras for the Body ​research how traditional laments such as the Greek moiroloi can be translated in a physical language and choreographic practice.

Jean and Guy will engage in a conversation together and with the audience about how their choreographic and dramaturgical practices nurture each other and how they are researching the physical language of loss and laments. This research is also part of Guy Cool’s recently published book, Performing Mourning, Laments in Contemporary Art, which we are delighted to launch on the same night.

‘Cools is particularly interested in how the emotions of loss need to be externalized. The laments are a formal device, used in many cultures to express and contain the emotions of grief. In a poetic, meandering, personal way Cools explores cultural habits, traditions, rituals, and artists’ performances. His narrative looks into many forms of laments: literary, anthropological, philo­sophical, and in contemporary art practices.

The latter part delves into artistic strategies to address or embody mourning: dialogical strategies that deal with personal losses; collective mourning rituals and how they invite communities to witness these losses; contemporary examples of laments that are not only used to dialogue with the dead but also to communi­cate with loved ones who are absent because of migration or exile; a very specific form of mourning that occurs when we grieve for the unrealized potential of a child’s unlived life, including that of an unborn child. And finally, the very recent phenome­non of lamenting not just the losses of the past, but also the loss of a future.’

This hybrid event is part of Siobhan Davies Studios September Housewarming.