• Prague Quadrennial

APDG Live Performance committee member, designer, director and installation artist, Anna Tregloan, has for the last six years managed the Australian contribution to Prague Quadrennial – the prestigious 4-yearly international celebration of scenography. Here Anna reviews the 2015 Quadrennial, looks ahead to work well underway for PQ later this year 6 -16 June 2019, and calls for Australian designers’ contributions to the “Impossible Project” – an online exhibition of projects dreamt and drawn, but never realised.

The Rapture by Moira Finucane. Photograph by Simon Schluter, Cloak by Anastasia La Fey. Breastplate by Kate Durham.

June this year will mark the 50th anniversary and the 14th edition of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design. It has grown over those 50 years into a sprawling, multifaceted festival featuring work from live performances, exhibitions, workshops, forums and more. Australia has presented at PQ since its inception and at the last quadrennial (2015) we were able to introduce a good proportion of the 180,000 visitors to a wide range of Australian work.

In 2015, the Australian exhibition considered the results, implications and evidence of action by the masses and featured works where differing senses of accumulation were core.  For 2019 we are taking a different tack.  Rather than works that are energised by drawing numerous individuals into a single dream, this year we focus on individuals that radiate outward. Performers who largely stand alone on stage while their created worlds revolve around them.

The solo performer. The one who stands vulnerable but fearless. A nucleus that the event unfolds around, or so it would seem. In fact (and of course) it takes a village. 

Our four key works, CARRION, REPATRIATE, THE RAPTURE AND THE SECOND WOMAN, have performance artists who demonstrate courage and staggering originality smack in their centres. Through putting their own person as the crux of the work they are able to embed a politic and communicate it in a quintessentially individual way.  In quite different ways each also works their physicality in concert with design to achieve an integrated form. In these works, costume, mask and physical space are not an exterior facade. It is only through collaboration with a village of other artists, designers and composers that the performance becomes.

For PQ2019 we are looking forward to introducing these works and all the collaborating artists to PQ’s broad international audience. Additionally, we are thrilled that Punctum’s and Tobhiyah Stone Feller’s work will be included in the “Our Theatre Our World” exhibition and that Bron Batten’s ‘The Hole’ made it into the sitespecific festival. (We are told that these programs had 17,000 applications so being accepted is quite an achievement).

The Second Woman by Nat Randal and Anna Breckon. Stage design by Future Method Studios. Original Hair and Makeup design, Sophie Roberts. Photograph by Heidrun Lohr

Alongside these successful works we are also exploring the impossible work of successful artists. And we are inviting in the ideas that never got off the ground. 

We are searching out those projects that were imagined but never became more than a sketch, an outline or a model. The ambitions that were too expensive, too impractical, too fantastical. The ones that simply landed in the wrong time or place. Or on deaf ears. 

So far we have collected an amazing array of ideas that never became actual and we will be celebrating these impossibilities via our website (pqau.com.au or theimpossibleproject.com.au). Plus if you have one or two projects or concepts or designs that never quite found their place in the real world PQAU would love to hear about them.  If you instagram simply tag @theimpossibleproject_ in the post or you can email theimpossible@pqau.com.au.

Every PQ numerous Australians travel to Prague to experience some of the most exciting design for live performance from around the planet.  If you are considering visiting or are just interested, you can also join our Facebook group PQAU19 for information and connections in Prague.

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