Hans Theys is a twentieth-century philosopher and art historian. He has written and designed dozens of books on the works of contemporary artists and published hundreds of essays, interviews and reviews in books, catalogues and magazines. All his publications are based on actual collaborations and conversations with artists.

This platform was developed by Evi Bert (M HKA / Centrum Kunstarchieven Vlaanderen) in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp (Research group Archivolt), M HKA, Antwerp and Koen Van der Auwera. We also thank Idris Sevenans (HOR) and Marc Ruyters (Hart Magazine).


Pierre Droulers - 2000 - Le labyrinthe [EN, interview]
Interview , 3 p.




Hans Theys



The maze is the mother country to the one who hesitates

Interview of Pierre Droulers


- I would like to ask you whether there are any passages in the choreography you are particularly fond of. This might constitute another approach to a finished show, than the approach which likes to find deeper meanings.

Pierre Droulers : I would like to distinguish three things. First of all it’s obvious that a finished choreography exists by itself and doesn’t need any added meanings. It is there solely to be seen, I have nothing to add. The second thing that comes to mind is that anecdote about a painter, I don’t remember whether it was Monet or Bonnard, who went to visit exhibition spaces with paint and pencils hidden in his pocket, to finish his own paintings. For someone who makes a painting it is never finished. Finally, it is also true that when a piece of choreography is performed, every spectator will add his own experience.

            Be that as it may, I must admit I’m very fond of the beginning of the choreography, because it presents itself as a kind of promise. It’s very simple. Space is put into movement by the white panes, and after having put down his or her own pane each dancer gives us something of himself or herself. They create openings. The characters haven’t revealed themselves completely and some things haven’t taken shape yet. I think it’s a pity this state is not prolonged. (He laughs.)

            I would like the end of the show to have the same quality. Not by using the same image, but by distancing myself from things that are too precise. At the end, the characters are more defined. Harold with his boxing gloves, for instance, and Céline who undresses. For the première in Brussels I would like to compose an ending which is much less determined, but I still don’t see how to get there.

- Were there any images at the beginning of the rehearsals, which we can still find now?

Pierre Droulers: To start with, I had chosen a series of images showing parts of cities, the countryside, architecture, and so on. I also had the intention to make a piece of choreography with six movements… There are still traces of this, of course, but very often these images have been twisted or they appear at unexpected moments, moments when nothing happens or when desires begin to prevail. Perhaps the images of the beginning should have taken the shape of a very precise image at the end of the show, but maybe they have become invisible for me, whereas they are very visible to the public, because they have lingered like a filigree throughout the show.

- What image would you like the spectators to remember from this show?

Pierre Droulers : I would like the spectator to have taken a walk amongst the images that we are presenting and to go home with the impression of having been a voyeur of things already living within himself or herself. I would like to link this to a phrase coined by Walter Benjamin, to the effect that the private life of a stroller is the public life of others. The stroller lives amongst the fantasies and desires of the others. This goes for me as well. The singularity of my proposition has to be linked to my own experience and to the experience of the others. I am a walker myself. Walter Benjamin wrote that the maze is the mother country to the one who hesitates. One can go to the left or to the right. Sometimes it gets comic…

            A passage that I particularly like is the moment when Harold mimes a rock ‘n’ roll singer wriggling his body. He moves as if he would like to get out of a rented costume that doesn’t really fit. Behind him the landscape changes, as if he were dreaming. It’s a dream about the city. The spectator might say: so what? He isn’t even really singing, but he lives this song in a somewhat narcissistic way. We feel that he would like to be a star…

            The thing we still haven’t reached at the end, is an impression of fog. During the preparations of MA the artists Ann Veronica Janssens and Jim Clayburgh created a kind of foreshadowing of the show: a sculpture which we have shown in the French city of Tours. We had the stage surrounded by cloth and filled with artificial mist that was coloured from orange to blue by lamps placed outside the sculpture. The spectators were invited to enter the stage from behind and to stumble through this wonderful, coloured mist. I liked that a lot. The mist is a kind of consolation for solitude. We didn’t see other people, but we heard their footsteps. The proximity of other people acted as a consolation. This is what we need for the end of the show. We still have one week to get there.



Montagne de Miel, 5 October 2000