A crazy, outrageous idea. An ocean of garbage both beautiful and monstrous, Oblivion is a year of waste turned into value. A slow celebration of things unhidden.
A crazy idea. A radical, destabilizing experience. For an entire year, the Belgian artist Sarah Vanhee accumulated all her personal garbage, real and intangible. Part art installation, part philosophical performance, the ocean of debris onstage is both beautiful and monstrous. Pushing the idea of caring to an extreme, Oblivion gives value to each thing, to each moment, reinvested in a slow celebration of things unhidden.
For over two hours, the artist suspends time and re-connects to what she once considered “trash”, recording what dies on a daily basis, and what remains. A pell-mell collection, this arsenal of objects, ideas, sounds and reading harvested during the course of a year immerses us into a world inside out, where the invisible becomes visible, where “waste” is transformed into affluence. A love song to what we throw away, Oblivion rattles the foundations of our consumer society. Spiritual, ecological and unexpected. Utterly fascinating.
Produced by Sarah Vanhee
Executive Producer CAMPO (Ghent)
Concept and performance Sarah Vanhee
Outside Eye Mette Edvardsen + Berno Odo Polzer
Sound Design Alma Söderberg + Hendrik Willekens
Voice Jakob Ampe
Production Assistant Linda Sepp
Technical Bart Huybrechts
Coproduced by CAMPO (Ghent) + HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) + Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival + Noorderzon (Groningen) + Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels) + NXTSTP with the support of Culture Programme of the European Union
With the support of Flemish Authorities
Acknowledgements to Manyone (Brussels) + Pianofabriek Kunstenwerkplaats (Sint-Gillis) + Kaaitheater (Brussels)
Presented in association with Place des Arts + Carrefour international de théâtre (Québec)
Written by Elsa Pépin
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at CAMPO, Ghent, on November 12, 2015
Sarah Vanhee (Brussels)
The Belgian artist Sarah Vanhee has created a dozen works over the past decade.
Combining performance with visual art, film and literature, her pieces take on a variety of forms, such as an auction of unrealized but brilliant ideas (2009), a video installation and performance (I Screamed and I Screamed and I Screamed, 2013) and a series of unannounced artistic intrusions into places where people gather (Lecture for Everyone, 2013).
Often site-specific, her work embraces interaction with the spectator and the surrounding environment she has created, blurring the boundary between fiction and reality, expanding the limits of the imagination and reconsidering social issues, artistic conventions and the shared public space. Inviting the viewer to be sensually and mentally vigilant, Vanhee questions the dominant models that influence our way of thinking, speaking and moving, how we relate to each other and to the world.
In 2009 Vanhee began a fruitful collaboration with CAMPO in Ghent, creating several projects. Her work is displayed around the world, both as performance and as visual art.
For her first visit to the FTA Vanhee will be presenting Oblivion, a performance created in 2015 and a piece that continues to tour. A conscientious display of personal garbage collected over the course of a year, the piece diverges from usual points of view about ecology and consumption, ascribing a certain spirituality to what we discard, to what we deem “waste”. She digs here into an invisible world, and more recently delved into another realm hidden from view with her film The Making of Justice, created in 2017 in collaboration with seven prisoners.