Kristel van Issum

2019 – present

© DansBrabant, Renate Beense

From autumn 2016 – talks
Spring 2018 – first concrete collaboration
January 2019 – entrant at DansBrabant

Following one-and-a-half years of intensive discussions, the first joint project of choreographer Kristel van Issum and DansBrabant resulted in the performance installation #Catalog of Shadows, a series of seven filmed portraits of women (Theaterfestival Boulevard, 2018). Our cooperation is ongoing and includes the Document Series, a multi-year project, in which Kristel exposes new shapes and meanings in different modules by establishing links to previous work.

For 20 years Kristel van Issum worked as the choreographer with the renowned Tilburg collective T.r.a.s.h., where she made films in addition to presenting her numerous performances. Kristel is interested in established role models; in merging incompatible identities. In her work she magnifies mundane activities and studies how the human being is depicted in our present-day visual culture. Her principal focus lies on the body and how in the outside world it acts as an intermediary, so to speak, as a doorway to ‘ourselves’. She focuses particularly on the many roles that we adopt and the physical extensions that we use to this end. In her work she examines the different ways in which the outside world influences our inner self and how our body accesses the outside world. This framework forces us to think about the concept of identity. Her notion is that identity is fictitious; an illusion. In our modern society we can adopt any identity we choose.

In body and spirit, Kristel van Issum is one big archive of images, memories, impressions and impulses: all that she has ever read, seen, felt or heard. Her method is to give the different elements from that archive time to settle and assemble into an idea, a reaction of ethical and aesthetic associations. Then she lets that same idea come up and surprise her, and tries to fathom it. It is fascinating to watch Kristel constantly arrange her enormous reservoir of thoughts into systematic order and give it shape by combining new insights and energy with profound reflection on previous work. In the new way of working she is so keen to determine, she considers encounters, exchanges and cooperation obvious tools: the process is just as shareable and important as the result. Because Kristel’s gigantic archive is also the source of her new creations, you could call her work the pinnacle of recycling and sustainability. Every creation initiates the next one. Constantly driven by the desire to show the imperfection of the ‘stumbling body’ and the struggling human spirit in relation to itself, others and reality by bringing together beauty and ugliness. She thinks along broad lines, with an eye for detail; active and at the same time receptive.

As stated earlier, Kristel will be working on studies and performances/installations/films in the coming years in different phases and sets of the Document Series. From a penchant for iconic images, she is increasingly moving towards multimedia and visual work. She has meanwhile also written her first theatre monologue.

For all our projects together with Kristel check below at her Dutch DB page.