Lunedì 4 agosto 2014 la Biennale di Venezia conferisce il Leone d’Oro a Jan Lauwers. Artista poliedrico e instancabile di base ad Anversa, con la sua Needcompany e nel suo percorso autoriale ha saputo indicare possibilità innovative di interazione fra diversi linguaggi, per un’esperienza performativa a tutto tondo, capace di scavare in profondità nelle luci e nelle ombre dell’identità umana.
Quello che segue è il discorso che Jan Lauwers ha pronunciato in occasione della cerimonia di premiazione, che si è svolta nella Sala delle Colonne di Ca’ Giustinian.
Dear President of the Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta,
Dear Director of the Theatre Section, Àlex Rigola,
I am very honoured and proud to accept this Golden Lion for the performing arts.
Against the background of the great work done by Àlex Rigola and a wonderful team of dedicated workers the Biennale plays a leading role in showing its public the significance of theatre as an art medium. This is not immediately apparent, as theatre is a medium with very little historical documentation. We have no knowledge of how Shakespeare staged his plays, though we do know the result of Michelangelo’s thinking process. Theatre was for long time considered as an entertainment or educational medium, with classic plays constituting part of culture’s obligatory canon. Today good theatre is theatre that attempts to create a position of autonomy, comparable to what the visual arts achieved in the twentieth century: autonomy in content and form but in a direct and dialectical dialogue with the world in which it is created.
This is very important to remember in a world where one tries to use art for so many different purposes: art as education, art as an investment, politically engaged art, art as a redefinition of itself, art that wants to change the world, art that tries to be beautiful, art that shocks, vulgar art, popular art, art as entertainment. Art is all of that, yet never the same. Everything is always different. And everything is politics, though art is not everything.
Art is the moment between two mistakes.
The Biennale proves that theatre has a role to play in the greater search of artist’s to redefine the meaning of art as an important sign of civilization in a very complex and often brutal world. Europe in particular is a continent where vulgarity and violence are increasingly gaining the upper hand, where those in power are no longer interested in art but merely in the economic results of art.
I strongly believe that art is asking the right questions in the right places at the wrong moments. And we need a Biennale to make this possible. And we need artists to do it. On behalf of all these artists I accept this Golden Lion, in the realization that success is poison to an artist’s brain.