Dimitris Papaioannou, the creator of the Athens 2004 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and the first European Games 2015 opening ceremony, explores apocalyptic beauty in his inimitable passionate hybrid of visual physical theatre and performance art.
Still Life is choreographer Papaioannou’s silent elemental vision of the birth of a strange new world, devastated by crisis and threatened by a heavy, poisoned sky. Or are the pregnant skies filled with a new life-giving breath for the future? Meanwhile, the humans on earth are building and demolishing. In the midst of it all lies the calm peace of the rituals of communion, a meal to revive the spirit for tomorrow. Horrific rupture or potent birth, Still Life seems to suggest the duality and ambiguities of the recent traumas of Papaioannou’s homeland, Greece.
This stunning visual performance taps on the Greek myth of Sisyphus, a man who cheated death. To punish him, the gods gave him immortality in endless labour: rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, only for it to fall back down again. Over and over. Forever. The French philosopher Albert Camus wrote about the absurdity of Sisyphus’ story, and of the human condition: “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
Papaioannou first attracted attention as a visual artist, illustrator and comic book creator. Still Life, an extension of his visual craft, explores the intensely absurd, the beauty of strangeness and the importance of finding happiness in everyday life.
Rating: Advisory (Some Nudity)