The beginning of the Illuminations project, a new initiative Im curating with the Austrian Cultural Forum in London, to bring light to some of the most important European writers of the 20th century, who aren’t known as they should be in the UK, in my, and many others, opinion. We began with an event around Elfriede Jelinek, and I commissioned five artists / writers to create new works responding to her, however they wished to, however obliquely. Jen Calleja, David Rickard, Patrick Coyle, Esther Strauss and Hannah Silva, all of them are genuine originals and some of the most generous and decent people I’ve worked with, all friends. We had a grand day on Wednesday April 26th, spending the whole afternoon in the rarefied and beautiful Cultural Forum just off Hyde Park, coming up with final details for the performances, improvising them on the day in many cases. Petra Freimund. Tunde Huber and all the staff at the ACF couldn’t have been more supportive, the ACF remains arguably the most progressive and interesting nation based cultural institute in all of London.
It was a great beginning to the series, as all the videos of the performances attest, available here www.theenemiesproject.com/illuminations . I took special pleasure from David Rickard’s performance, with the assistant of Lena Trost. A squid was compressed beneath a grand piano, as Lena and Patrick Coyle dueted, a video showing slugs mating was screened and David read a redacted scientific paper about the slugs. It was a beautiful and aromatic multifaceted performance, completely memorable and like all the works on the night, respectfully subtle, ambiguous and oblique, as is appropriate, in its reflection on the work of Elfriede Jelinek.