Glorious Catastrophes Wednesday, 31 October 2012, 20:30h Beursschouwburg, A. Ortsstraat 20-28, 1000 Brussels In collaboration with Courtisane
“A seriousness that fails”: this is how Susan Sontag described the essence of “camp”, this transient mixture of excess, fantasy, passion and naivety that has taken up a distinctive place in the cultural firmament since the 1960’s. Andy Warhol, who emphatically responded to this trend with his film Camp (1965), saw it differently: he was rather interested in the idea of failure itself, a failure that has to be taken seriously. After all the majority of Warhol’s films consists of observations of people in and as image, who in all their fallibility reveal a genuine authenticity and startling vulnerability. Two characters who play lead roles in Camp also take up a central place in this film programme: Paul Swan and Jack Smith. Warhol’s self-titled portrait of Swan, a dancer and actor who was once lauded as the “most beautiful man in the world” is an as ruthless as affectionate observation of a man who alternately falls in and out of the role of his lifetime. The area of tension between playing and being, playful fantasy and harsh reality, is also the arena of Jack Smith, the “enfant terrible” of the post war American underground scene. The early films Smith made in collaboration with his then confidant Ken Jacobs manifest a brutal beauty and audacious hedonism, unleashing a bewildering vitality not despite but because of their deliberate “trash” esthetics. Between innocence and nonsense, order and disorder, catastrophe and utopia: what the films in this programme have in common, are forms of expression that thrive in relation to their own failing.
With film works by Andy Warhol, Ken Jacobs, Jack Smith